By Monica Araneta Tiosejo
Gina Lopez passed away on Monday. She was 65.
The news was confirmed by ABS-CBN Corp. in a statement.
“With Gina’s passing, we lost a fervent advocate of children’s rights and protection, a passionate proponent of sustainable livelihood among the underprivileged, and an unswerving champion for environment preservation,” ABS CBN said in a statement.
“Gina was the pillar of strength that pushed AFI to achieve what seemed to be impossible. Her caring heart and selfless kind of love inspired people within and beyond the organization to help and serve others,” it added.
Lopez was a philanthropist, a yoga missionary, a pioneer for corporate social responsibility, an environmentalist, and former DENR secretary. She would encourage officials to work hard and was even quoted, “Build me paradise!”
Among her many achievements are rehabilitating Pasig River, transforming the La Mesa Watershed into a park, initiating Bantay Bata 163, establishing Bantay Kalikasan, and producing Sineskwela.
The daughter of Geny and Chita Lopez grew up sheltered and privileged. As a teenager, she developed an interest in meditation, eventually turning her back on the life she knew to serve humanity and to serve God for 20 years.
She came home and worked for the ABS-CBN Foundation. Her thirst for something more was replaced with a fire that drove her to fight. She fought for the environment and for the community by alleviating poverty. She fought cancer, too.
When she left her life of privilege at 18, she became a dedicated Ananda Marga missionary and moved to Portugal, India, and then to Africa, where she spent 11 years.
It was during this time that she met her former husband with whom she had two sons.