Lopez and her CA rejection
The first week of May started with the sad news of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez being rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) in Congress.
Many Filipinos were disappointed by the CA’s decision to reject Lopez who showed political will to go after the big-time mining companies that have destroyed our environment for profit.
Clearly the CA’s decision was not based on their conscience but on the business interests of the mining companies.
During the hearing, some CA members dwelt more on the sanctions imposed by Ms. Lopez on the mining firms instead of the wanton destruction they inflicted on the environment due to the continued operation of the mines.
She responded by showing to the commission and the public photos of destroyed terrain and uprooted trees in the mining sites. But the CA was unmoved and they rejected her presentation and eventually her appointment.
Ms. Lopez’s presentation is nothing new. If anyone bothered to do research, the environmental damage inflicted by these mining companies are well documented. She was merely trying to make them accountable for their actions.
I’ve heard of many secretaries of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) but have not heard any of them running after the powerful mining companies until Lopez came along.
Some of the criticism I heard about Lopez stemmed from her family background as part of the wealthy and influential Lopez clan.
Lopez isn’t being pretentious unlike the politicians who pretend to commiserate with the poor even if they are high born.
Her rejection is a wasted opportunity by the Duterte administration to make a difference in governance.
Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, voted to reject Lopez because of a certain person who is close to Mar Roxas whose mining operation has not been closed by Lopez.
But we must remember that the mining firms went through due process before they were ordered closed.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson also rejected Lopez because he was worried over her “authoritarian tendencies” when she ordered the immediate closure of the mining firms.
But those reasons don’t justify their rejection of Lopez who wanted to hold the mining firms accountable for all the damage they wrought on the environment.
The damages to the environment robbed the affected families and communities of the opportunities to use the natural resources to sustain their livelihood.
Lopez should not be disappointed and lose hope because she has a bright future in government.
In fact there are some groups that are encouraging her to run for president in the next elections.
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