MANILA, Feb. 1, 2017— A Catholic archbishop appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to retain Gina Lopez as head of the environment department.
In a letter to Duterte, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa said the known environment activist has been a “gift” to the various advocacies and initiatives in preserving the natural resources of Batangas.
“May I humbly appeal to you to retain Ms. Gina Lopez as DENR secretary and support her efforts to protect our beautiful and rich resources,” wrote the prelate.
“The majority of people see hope for them and the generations to come in the determined efforts of Sec. Gina Lopez,” he said.
Arguelles said the archdiocese is fully behind Lopez who implements the Duterte administration’s policy of protecting the environment.
He said the Church also supports the government’s stance of “truly responsible mining”, cleaning up the polluted Laguna Lake, and providing livelihood to the poor so they in turn may protect nature.
“We thank God for her dedication to bring change for the better in the graft-ridden department that has not honestly served our people particularly the poor,” added Arguelles.
Lopez was among the 15 appointees of the President who were bypassed by the congressional Commission on Appointments last year.
Duterte, however, reappointed Lopez as DENR chief the following month.
Since taking office in June 2016, Lopez has implemented an intense crackdown on illegal mining in the country.
“We appeal to you to influence the Commission on Appointments to confirm her and thus demonstrate the sincere pro-poor, pro-environment and pro-country stand of the Duterte administration,” Arguelles said. (CBCPNews)