Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said foreign investors who put premium on local communities and the environment are "welcome to invest" in the Philippines.

The environment chief was reacting to statements from the international and local business communities that her decision to close down 23 mining firms found to have committed serious environmental violations worries some foreign investors.

According to reports, some investors are now "worried on putting their money on business ventures, as they might lose their investments overnight."

But Lopez said foreign investors should not be worried if their businesses do not cause environmental degradation and suffering in areas they operate.

"If they invest and rape the country, I prefer that they go away," Lopez said.

She added: "We want investments that will help us, like investments in our biodiversity, investments which will pay our people well. We welcome investments in area development where they can make money, but they are helping everybody else improve also."

As for mining, Lopez said studies have shown that 82 percent of the net revenue goes to the investor and 95 percent of which goes out of local economy.

This is despite the fact that mining activities leave massive and long-lasting damage to the environment and communities, she added.

Last Tuesday, Lopez announced that 75 mineral production sharing agreements or MPSAs for mining sites within or near watersheds face cancellation.

She said that if the government allows mining in a watershed area, rehabilitating it will be almost impossible. ###