MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez said on Tuesday that courts cannot halt her orders to shut more than half of the country’s mines, as affected miners prepare to take legal action.
“There is no TRO (temporary restraining order) that holds function in the case of environment enforcement,” Lopez told a media briefing.
“You can’t have a TRO. We are protecting the environment and you can’t stop us from protecting the environment.”
Lopez on Feb. 2 ordered the closure of 23 of the Philippines’ 41 mines for causing damage to watersheds and siltation of coastal waters and farmlands. Another five mines were suspended.
She expanded the crackdown earlier on Tuesday, ordering the cancellation of 75 mining contracts, which she said are all in watershed zones, with many in the exploration stage.
Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Karen Lema; Editing by Richard Pullin