Is Duterte, unlike Trump, a green populist thug?

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte [previously] may be a murdering populist thug who says Donald Trump makes him “feel like a saint,” notorious for his personal participation in one of more of the thousands of police and vigilante murders of alleged drug users and dealers that have characterized his rule since he took the helm last June, but is a green murdering populist thug as well?

That possibility was raised today after his environmental secretary announced the closure of more than half of the country’s notoriously dirty mines, declaring it a matter of social justice, especially for the island nation’s original inhabitants.

The announcement came less than two weeks after the murder of an indigenous anti-mining activist, 27-year-old Veronico “Nico” Lapsay Delamente, a member of the Mamanwa tribe.

The story from teleSUR English:

In a move to address the environmental and human costs of the mining industry in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte’s secretary of the environment and natural resources, Regina Lopez, has ordered the closure of 23 of 41 of the country’s mines.

The move has perturbed the mining industry — which has threatened to fight back through legal action.

“My issue here is not about mining, my issue here is social justice,” Lopez, a staunch environmentalist, said at a briefing that showed footage of damage from mining activities, especially in Indigenous communities.

“Why is mining more important than people’s lives?”

The announcement has raised the price of global nickel prices, as the Philippines is the world’s largest nickel ore exporter. Lopez has also ordered for the suspension of five other mines as well, after having conducted an official standards audit.

The suspensions include the country’s top gold mine, operated by Australia’s OceanaGold Corp., which has threatened to take legal action if the mine is closed. The corporation’s CEO, Mick Wilkes, said the decision was unjustified.


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