MANILA Extractive industries like mining should be promoted, not curbed, the Philippines’ finance minister said on Thursday, promising investors there will be no more arbitrary suspensions of operations and more transparency in regulation.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s government has been taking a less confrontational stance towards mining after the removal of an environment minister who ordered the closure of more than half the mines in the world’s top nickel ore exporter to protect water resources.
Duterte this week replaced environmentalist Regina Lopez with former military chief Roy Cimatu, who said it was possible to balance mining and environmental protection.
“We need to encourage and not suppress extractive industries,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez told an industry forum.
“They are necessary to help our economy develop, to bring the revenues that government needs, and to create opportunities for the communities that host these industries.”
Dominguez said while weak governance has led to environmental destruction, including massive deforestation over the years, “the solution is not to arbitrarily ban extractive industries.”