MANILA Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will do "what is necessary" to protect his country's environment when asked about his plan to impose a total mining ban.
"When it comes to the preservation of my country, the land ... I will do what is necessary," Duterte told a media briefing on Monday.
The firebrand leader earlier said it may be "worthwhile" for Environment Secretary Regina Lopez to implement a ban on mining given the environmental damage that producers have caused.
Lopez, who ordered the closure of more than half the country's mines to protect watersheds, has authority to do what she likes, Duterte said.
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Tom Hogue)