DAVAO CITY – The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) welcomed the appointment of Gina Lopez, a known advocate for the environment, as secretary to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Lopez who is the chairs the ABS-CBN Foundation confirmed that she has accepted the offer of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to join his Cabinet as environment secretary on Tuesday.
She said she was surprised with the offer since she was not “the usual choice.”
“My stand on the environment is very clear but this is what I really believe in, na kung alagaan ang kalikasan at kung gawin sa paraan na may pakinabang ang komunidad na doon nakatira, I am very, very sure we can eradicate poverty,” she added.
Lopez was known to be strongly against mining activities and coal-fired power plants.
In a statement on Tuesday, June 21, Kalikasan said “Lopez has a proven track record in defending ecological integrity and community rights against big mining corporations.”
“We witnessed her leadership and determination in defending our environment. We joined Lopez in the ‘No to Mining in Palawan’ national signature drive that gathered 10 million signatures,” the group said.
Kalikasan added they Lopez supported the campaign to demand justice for murdered Palawan environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega.
Kalikasan also said that Lopez was active in the campaign to stop the threat of mining in Mt. Lobo ad its adjacent Verde Island Passage in Batangas.
“She added her voice to the broad climate justice movement, and calling for a moratorium on the construction of dirty coal power plants in the country,” the group said.
“We wish Ms. Lopez to be the spark that will stop the reign of corporate mining, coal power, and other vested big business interests in the DENR. Her resolve, experience and stand for the environment will be an important contribution to the incoming Duterte government’s shaping of a regime that will diverge from the anti-people, anti-environment pathway of the past Aquino administration,” it added.
The group also urged Lopez to “use her position to encourage her family, which promotes renewable energy sources such as geothermal and solar power, to be an example to other industrialists by ensuring the protection of our forests and other important ecosystems.”
Lopez said that she will do her best to protect the environment under her watch.
“I give you my firm commitment that I’ll do everything that I can and it’s not only to protect the environment but what I really want to do is to eradicate poverty,” she said. (davaotoday.com)