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Gina Lopez to MGB chief: Don't allow irresponsible mining or 'I'll shoot you'

MANILA, Philippines – Former environment secretary Gina Lopez has one last message for Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Mario Luis Jacinto.

"Louie, I forgive you, but if you allow any irresponsible mine, I will personally shoot you. You don't allow any suffering, do you understand?" Lopez told Jacinto during her last message to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) officials on Wednesday, May 10.

In an earlier dzMM interview, Lopez tagged Jacinto as "the worst" MGB chief who is "not good at all and he just doesn't come to the meetings."

On Wednesday, Lopez again called out Jacinto for not answering her texts and emails.

"Louie, if you side with the mining companies and not the people, I'll really shoot you. Your first allegiance is to the community, do you understand?"

In a chance interview with reporters, Jacinto refused to comment on Lopez's claim that he doesn't answer her calls and texts, but he said the two of them are "okay."

Asked about his recommendations to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu when it comes to mining, Jacinto answered: "We will definitely stick to the implementation of the applicable laws, rules, and regulations, and the efforts should be making sure that those who are granted the permits should be compliant, because that is the way to go."

He said government must be transparent to stakeholders, including local government units and communities near mining sites.

"[Mining] is allowed by law, but [mining companies] have to comply with the requirements and the conditions especially with regards to environmental compliance," Jacinto added.

Cimatu, a former ambassador and former chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as DENR secretary on Monday, May 8. (READ: How Cimatu found out he will be DENR chief)

He replaces Lopez, whose ad interim appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments last May 3. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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