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IN PHOTOS: Duterte meets miners in Malacañang

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte lived up to his promise to personally meet with mining companies to impress upon them his requirement that they conduct responsible mining operations.

Duterte met with executives of various mining companies in Malacañang on Thursday, August 3. With him were Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.

No new policy announcement was made by the President, according to Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra. But Duterte, as expected, repeated his directive to mining companies to ensure minimal damage to the environment.

According to Guevarra, based on information from the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, the President had told the mining companies that "for as long as mining groups follow the rules on mining and keep the environmental cost in mind" then Duterte would have no problem with them.

The Palace official was speaking on Friday, August 4, in a press conference at the Conrad Manila hotel, Pasay City.

While Duterte's meeting with miners pushed through, the absence of former environment secretary Gina Lopez was noticeable. Duterte had previously said he would invite her and green advocacy groups to Malacañang as well so they could help "rearrange" the mining sector.

In his second State of the Nation Address, he warned mining companies to pay for environmental damage caused by their operations or else he would tax them "to death."

Aside from mining issues, Duterte also showed his audience his thick list of drug suspects – government officials, local government chiefs, and security personnel allegedly involved in drugs.

Photos show the list was updated only last July 25.

While Duterte has unleashed harsh words against miners, he is also friends with some of them. As president-elect, for instance, he was a wedding sponsor or "ninong" of the daughter of his friend, Cebuano Fernando "Ding" Borja, president of Adnama Mining Resources Incorporated (AMRI). Borja supported Duterte during his presidential campaign in 2016.

AMRI is a company registered in Mandaue City, Cebu. The company's portfolio includes several mainly nickel mining projects in northern Mindanao, including a 1,000-hectare mine in Claver, Surigao del Norte. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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