Environment Secretary Gina Lopez is recognised as a “Woman of Courage” on 10 March by GABRIELA, for her “standing up for the general welfare of women, indigenous peoples and the Filipino nation vis-à-vis encroaching interests of commercial despoilers of the environment.”

PNA photo courtesy of DENR

Gabriela backs DENR Secretary Lopez amid Senate confirmation grilling

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

MANILA, March 10 (PNA) — A Gabriela lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Friday expressed support for Environment Secretary Gina Lopez as she faced grilling at the Senate confirmation hearing.

In a statement, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus described Lopez as a “diamond in the rough” amid pressure against her appointment.

“Like a diamond being formed out of very high heat and pressure, Gina Lopez shines through in her upfront and unwavering stance to protect the environment and communities from destructive corporate mining,” De Jesus said.

De Jesus noted that Lopez is gaining points from women and the people despite efforts to undermine her competence and credentials to lead the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“The nitpicking on Lopez of oppositors and members of the Commission on Appointments, who are directly and indirectly linked to big mining businesses is proof that they cannot sufficiently prove their case against Lopez’ hardline stance versus destructive, corporate mining,” she added.

The lady legislator also lauded Lopez’ emphasis on DENR’s mandate to manage resources for future generations and on the protection of communities within and around mining sites.

“We find Lopez’ broad appreciation of environmental protection laudable, as she prioritizes the country’s future over corporate interests. We in Gabriela have consistently drilled down the need to stop the bleeding of our country’s natural resources for foreign gain. It is high time that we harness what is ours for the creation of national industries,” De Jesus said.

Gabriela National Alliance of Women conferred the “Woman of Courage” award on Secretary Lopez in recognition of her inclusion in the gallery of strong women fighting for the rights and welfare of the people.

The Environment Secretary has ordered the closure of 23 mines, suspension of 5 others, and cancellation of 75 mineral production sharing agreements in watersheds all over the country — a feat that no DENR chief has done in the past, according to the women’s group.

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