Philippine Congress postpones embattled minister’s affirmation listening to | Information


By Manolo Serapio Jr and Enrico Dela Cruz

MANILA A Philippine legislative listening to set for Wednesday to verify the appointment of a controversial setting minister who ordered greater than half of the nation’s mines shut has been postponed following a shakeup within the Senate management.

Whereas the hearings are usually a formality carried out lengthy after a minister has began work, the affirmation course of for Regina Lopez is way anticipated due to the uproar she has precipitated within the mining sector, with calls from miners for her to be eliminated.

Lopez is amongst just some of President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointees but to get the inexperienced gentle from lawmakers.

The crackdown by Lopez, a dedicated environmentalist lengthy earlier than she joined Duterte’s staff, has raised fears that offer of nickel ore from the world’s prime exporter could also be disrupted, fuelling a rally in world nickel costs.

Lopez on Tuesday recommended her affirmation listening to could also be unduly influenced by lawmakers with mining pursuits.

“So I strongly really feel that we should have no people there with robust enterprise leanings which is able to affect and have an effect on the selections,” she informed reporters.

“I am not accusing anybody. I am simply saying as a matter of coverage. That is the way in which it ought to be.”

Lopez has ordered the closure of 23 of 41 working mines to guard watersheds and suspended one other 5, actions she stated adopted due course of and got here after a months-long evaluate.

She additionally canceled 75 contracts for undeveloped mines for being in watershed areas that she stated would threaten water provide and high quality.

Duterte, who has supported Lopez’s actions, stated on Monday that he wouldn’t intrude within the affirmation proceedings.

“This can be a democracy … There are processes to be noticed,” he informed reporters.

The fee has canceled all hearings for Wednesday and no new date was set for Lopez. It got here after 4 legislators who supported a critic of Duterte’s battle on medicine misplaced key Senate positions on Monday.

Many affected miners have appealed to Duterte’s workplace to forestall closure or suspension and questioned whether or not due course of was adopted by the setting company. A mining trade group has stated the closures and suspensions would have an effect on 1.2 million folks.

A authorities inter-agency panel will start a three-month evaluate of the affected mines from March and can meet on Friday.

“We actually need to be sure that the defenses of Secretary-designate Lopez are very robust,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez informed a separate briefing on Tuesday.

“Being Secretary is just not like being a crusader,” Dominguez stated, including it’s about “balancing the wants of the totally different sectors in society.”

(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Enrico dela Cruz; Enhancing by Martin Petty and Richard Pullin)