Ms. Lopez told reporters yesterday that Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea has in effect allowed miners she ordered closed last February to continue operating by allegedly holding on to their appeals to Malacañang, in effect preventing President Rodrigo R. Duterte from rendering a final decision on their fate.
As a result of a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) audit that began in July last year, Ms. Lopez in mid-February ordered closed 22 of the country’s 41 operating metal mines and five others suspended for various violations of environment laws, and moved later that same month to suspend the permits of 75 others still in pre-production stage.
At industry request, the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) — led by both DENR and the Department of Finance (DoF) — proceeded last month to conduct a separate review.
Ms. Lopez asked Mr. Duterte early in March to stop that separate review, arguing that it usurped DENR’s authority.
Some of the affected miners have appealed their fate to Malacañang