Mining sector reiterates call for CA to reject Lopez's appointment

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - There's no stopping the mining sector from blocking the confirmation of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez before the Commission on Appointments.

A day after meeting Lopez, mining firms and some members of mining communities gathered to reiterate their call for the commission to reject her appointment.

Lopez is drawing flak for recently ordering the suspension and closure of at least 20 mining companies in the country.

Read more: DENR closes 23 mining firms, plans rehabilitation of affected areas

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines said Lopez cannot do the job, adding she should have joined the tourism department instead.

"She is not competent for the job. She is heavily reliant on consultants," Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Vice President for Legal Roni Ricardo said.

Mining communities decried losing jobs as the nationwide mining audit of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources began.

"Kailangan namin ang mina dahil diyan kami nabubuhay nang ayos," Benjamin Tindogan said, adding it is his basic source of livelihood. [We need mining because it gives us decent living.]

Eramin Minerals Inc., among the 10 mines whose operations were put to a halt as early as July 2016, have had to let go a number of its employees.

The company president, Lina Fernandez, said the number of its employees is now down to 150, from more than a thousand.

"What used to be a dignified life is now an embarrassment," Fernandez said.

The Chamber of Mines says the industry has lost billions since the crackdown on mining began.

"It's probably in the range of P2 billion already. So there's a big drop," Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Chairman Artemio Desini said.

For Marcventures Mining and Development Corp. President and CEO Isidro Alcantara, Lopez is being unfair in her treatment of the mining sector.

"Si Lopez ay one dimensional. Parang ang pinagtutuunan lang niya ay mining, [It seems she's only focusing on mining.]" Alcantara said.

"I think the intention is just to kill the industry," he added.

The Commission on Appointments' Committee on Environment will hold an executive session on Tuesday and possibly come up with a decision on the appointment of Lopez.

Lopez has yet to comment on the recent statements of her oppositors.