Philippine environment minister says still has President's support

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2017 12:14 AM

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines' environment minister on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte has assured her that he would reappoint her if a congressional panel does not make an immediate decision on her confirmation.

"The president said he has confidence in me and he would just reappoint (me)," Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez told reporters, during a break at her confirmation hearing as a minister.

She also said some of 13 mines still operating are in watershed zones, but have been allowed to stay open as they are not having a negative environmental impact. Lopez has been criticized for unfairly closing more than half of the country's mines and leaving others untouched.

The congressional panel is hearing from those opposed to Lopez's confirmation and can defer a vote to a later date.

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Richard Pullin)