Duterte looking into limiting mining permits

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Davao City (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte, after saying he would strictly implement the mining law, said he’s also considering limiting permits the government is issuing to mining companies.

The President said this on Thursday in a speaking engagement in Ateneo de Davao, with Environment Secretary Gina Lopez listening on stage.

Duterte recently defended Lopez from mining executives castigating the secretary for being so strict.

Watch: New DENR Chief orders audit of mines

Duterte said following the highest mining standards now would not guarantee a company the freedom to operate.

“When it would number to thousands, whether it's legal or not, it will destroy the country,” said Duterte.

Duterte said the country's lands can only take so much damage from mining operations.

“We can only hold so much. There has to be a limit,” the President added.

Businesses engaged in logging or cutting trees also seem to be on their 25th hour.

Duterte said many will get mad but he will still work on it in the next 6 years. "Dahan dahan kong sisirain yan," the President said. [I will slowly destroy that.]

"Dahan-dahan kong sisirain 'yan," the President said. [I will slowly destroy that.]

Duterte also took a swipe at what he says are “oligarchs” who, according to the President, use their influence to get into mining.

Yung mga mina, napupunta yan sa mga oligarchs. Walang iba yang ginawa kundi mag-influence peddling,” Duterte said.

[Translation: Mining goes to oligarchs. They don’t do anything but influence peddling.]

Duterte said he will destroy the clutches of the oligarchs.

“It's all over the Philippines. That is why, I am fighting a monster," Duterte said.

The President also referred to oligarchs as people who take people's money, get government franchises because of “greed and influence.”

Itong oligarchy, they are resisting because it would destroy the power vortex.” [This oligarchy, they are resisting because it would destroy the power vortex.]

Watch: Executive: Mining can help Duterte meet economic goals

The President related the concept of oligarchs to what he refers to as the "imperial Manila."

According to Duterte, this is something he wants to change — the idea of having a small group of influential people controlling the government from Metro Manila.

CNN Philippines’ Fiona Nicolas and Ina Andolong contributed to this report.