Duterte on mining firms: We can survive without you

MANILA, Philippines — Follow regulations or close shop.
This was the stern warning issued Monday to mining firms by President Rodrigo Duterte as he vowed to be tough on businesses that are destroying the environment and violating government standards.
Duterte said he is ready to forego the state revenues being generated from mining companies, believing the country could survive without them.
“You (mining firms) only give me P40 billion each year. I can do away with the P40 billion. I will shutter you all. You obey or we will survive as a nation without you,” he said in a press conference in Malacañan.
Duterte also scored mining firms for “destroying the land” and for criticizing Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s strict implementation of mining regulations.
“Lopez has my full support. So stop this nonsense of discrediting her because I won’t believe you a bit,” the president said.
“She (Lopez) is not incompetent, she is a bright lady. And she is simply a crusader,” he added.
Duterte said Marcopper, the company that spilled mine and toxic wastes into the Boac River in 1996, has yet to fully clean up its mess.
“Oligarchs forge partnerships with foreigners and they get rich at the expense of our native land. Do not do it. I will not allow it,” the president said.
Duterte said he would tap the military and police to shut down erring mining firms. He said mining operations have resulted in landslides in some areas.
“You say mining is a critical component of the Philippine economy, of course it is, it's income. But you are also making a critical damage,” he said.  
“If you refuse to obey, I will place you inside the mining pit and cover it. You want to try it, fine. Let’s do it.”

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