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Government officials who prioritize business interests should resign, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez said Monday.

"'Yung tungkulin ng mga tao na doon nagtratrabaho sa pamahalaan, 'yung unang, unang, unang, unang, unang tungkulin ay para sa tao, hindi para sa negosyo nila. Kung 'yan ang importante – 'yung negosyo nila – dapat mag-resign na sila," she told reporters on the sidelines of the Protect Wildlife project launch in Quezon City.

"All the decisions you make should be for the people because that's why you're elected and if you make decisions for you business interest you should not be in government service," Lopez said Monday.

Asked to clarify who she was referring to, Lopez said she was speaking in general terms.

"I'm not alluding to anyone. I'm saying, as a matter of principle, everyone in government must be for the people and should not make any decisions for business interest. It's not right as a matter of principle, that's what I'm saying," she said.

Lopez last month ordered 23 mining operations closed and five other suspended, the result of a months-long environmental audit by the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.

She also ordered the cancellation of 75 mineral production sharing agreements of mining operations in watershed areas.

Business groups, primarily the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), decried her moves and claimed that the Philippines stands to lose more than P1 trillion of investments should the closure and suspension orders push through.

Lopez belittled such claims, saying most of the money does not benefit the economy. — VDS, GMA News

Source: GMA News

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