Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Monday faced miners and college students protesting the agency's audit report ordering the closure of more than 20 mining operations in the country.
A report by GMA News' Bernadette Reyes on "24 Oras" said the protesters were miners from Benguet and Zambales provinces joined by students from the University of the Philippines and Adamson University.
Lopez, the report said, allowed the group to enter the DENR premises for them to have a dialogue with her regarding the issue. However, several students got Lopez's ire for attempting to interrupt her.
"According po sa law ma'am there is a separation ng agricultural land and mineral land. Is that an ecotourism land?" one student said, before the audience started shouting. "Answer the question po ma'am, is that a mineral land?"
Lopez later asked the group to allow her to talk.
"You're gonna ask me questions and I can't talk and when I'm talking you intervene. Now, is that fair? Let me talk," Lopez said.
The report said one student even demanded Lopez to immediately provide a full copy of the audit report, which ordered 23 mining firms to cease operations.
"Is that bastos or is that bastusan? What do you want me to do? Do you want me to bring a whole roomload of documents here for you to see? Why don't you go there and see it?" Lopez told the protesters.
A student defended the way they ask Lopez, saying: "We are trying to butt in kasi her answer to our questions are... hindi talaga sagot."
Meanwhile, Lopez assured those who would be affected by the mining closure or suspension that they will have new jobs in the ecotourism sector.
Lopez said she wants to replicate the success she had in Palawan and Yolanda-stricken areas.
"I have the money to create an alternative economy and I have been successful in my projects in Palawan in Puerto Prinsesa, in the Yolanda area where my community is earning P30 million a year and I only put in a million," she said.
WATCH VIDEO BELOW: