- Environmentalist Gina Lopez has been named as the incoming Secretary of theDENR by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte
- She is a member of the powerful Lopez business family that owns media giant ABS-CBN
- Lopez accepted Duterte’s offer after she paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Guest House in DPWH Panacan Depot in Davao City
Environmentalist Gina Lopez, a member of the powerful Lopez business family that owns media giant ABS-CBN, has been named as the incoming Secretary of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Lopez, who is currently Chairman of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, accepted Duterte’s offer after she paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Guest House in DPWH Panacan Depot in Davao City earlier this week.
“After much introspection, I decided to accept it. Let’s see what happens. I’m deeply honored since it’s a controversial decision; that you have decided to trust me. I give you my firm commitment that I will do everything that I can and it’s not only to protect the environment [but also] to eradicate poverty,” she told the Inquirer.
This will not be Lopez’s first stint in government. She is currently the Chairman of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) appointed by outgoing President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.
Lopez said she was surprised when Duterte offered her the Cabinet portfolio, recognizing that she would be a “controversial” figure given her strong anti-mining stance. The President-elect had earlier expressed his opposition against destructive mining in the countryside.
As the new DENR Secretary, Lopez plans to meet with pro-mining advocates in order to seek “suggestions” about how to address certain issues involving the industry. She also reiterated her opposition to coal-powered plants, which she describes as compromising the health of its host community.
“We cannot and we must not build an economy based on suffering…“The poor are suffering so that [private companies] can make money,” she said.
Lopez also plans to clean out the ranks of the DENR and weed out officials involved in corruption.
“We’ll clean the ranks of DENR. Those accepting bribes, your days are over. Stop it. No corruption is acceptable,” she warned.