Tributes pour in for Gina Lopez
August 19, 2019 - Monday 3:08 PM by Jon JoaquinI CAN FLY. Gina Lopez sings "I believe I can fly" during a press conference at the Senate in this file photo taken on May 3, 2017 after the Commission on Appointment rejected her appointment as Environment and Natural Resources Secretary. Lopez succumbed to brain cancer on Monday. Story on Page 2. TED ALJIBE / AFP
“I had the honor of working with her when she was the environment secretary of the Duterte Administration. As a former colleague in the government, I know how passionate, dedicated, and humble she was as a public servant and as an Earth Warrior.” -- Senator Christopher Lawrence Go
POST-DENR. After her stint as Environment Secretary, Gina Lopez headed the ILOVE (Investment in Loving Organization for Village Economies) Foundation, which was launched in Davao City on April 2, 2018. File photo by Arjoy M. Ceniza
Tributes poured in for the late “Earth Warrior” and former Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez who succumbed to brain cancer on Monday at age 65.
“I deeply mourn with great sadness the passing of Ms. Gina Lopez today,” Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said in a statement.
“I had the honor of working with her when she was the environment secretary of the Duterte Administration. As a former colleague in the government, I know how passionate, dedicated, and humble she was as a public servant and as an Earth Warrior,” he said.
“Ma'am Gina, taus-pusong pasasalamat po sa inyong hindi napapantayang serbisyo sa kapwa Pilipino. Isa kang katangi-tanging modelo ng tunay na pagmamalasakit sa kapwa tao. May your legacy continue for the generations to come,” he added.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo described Lopez as one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “most passionate” Cabinet members.
“The Palace deeply grieves the demise of one of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's most passionate Cabinet members whose environmental advocacy and legacy remains unparalleled to this day,” he said in a statement.
Lopez was appointed to head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2016 but she was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
In July 2018, Duterte said he suspected that "conspiracy" was behind her removal because of her strong anti-mining stance.
During her term as DENR chief, Lopez drew the ire of the mining industry when she ordered the closure of over-mining companies as these affected watersheds. She also threatened to ban open-pit mining in the country.
Panelo said Lopez “took the bull by the horns when she fiercely fought powerful interests in the mining sector, as well as in industries having negative effect on our ecology.”
Lopez received the 1997 International Public Relations Award for Excellence for the Environment and the 2009 Outstanding Manilan Award for the Environment.
She was also long-time chairperson of ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI).
On social media, Lopez’s passing was a trending topic, with more than 25,000 tweets as of 1 p.m. Monday.
Former Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza made a simple farewell in a Facebook post: “Goodbye! Ms. Gina Lopez left us today to join her Creator. A life well lived for others!”
On Twitter, Greenpace Philippines posted: “Today, Mother Earth lost one of its fearless environmental defenders whose selfless love for humanity and nature will never cease to inspire us. Rest in power, dear friend Secretary Gina Lopez.”
“Gina fought with everything she had against big polluters,” Senator Risa Hontiveros tweeted. “She’ll always be remembered that way: as a fighter whose legacy will be remembered by many. Salamat, Gina. Rest in peace.”
“My deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Sec. Gina,” Senator JV Ejercito tweeted. “She is one lady whose courage we will never forget.” With a report from PNA
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