By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Secretary Gina Lopez thanked President Duterte for her reappointment in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as she vowed to continue her pro-environment campaigns.
“I knew of my signing two weeks before and yes, I am happy and determined to make a difference,” said Lopez.
Despite the dismay of mine companies on her ad interim appointment, Lopez maintained she is open to working with the mining industry, as long as operations abide by the law.
“I will work with the mining industry to make peoples lives better. But as a matter of principle, I cannot sacrifice the well-being of our people at the altar of business profit. It’s morally wrong and it’s also against the law,” she said.
Lopez said that while she understood that mining operations contribute to government revenues, mines that endanger surrounding communities would not be allowed.
Lopez, along with Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments before Congress went on a session break last March 18.