Priest pins high hopes on Lopez as DENR chief

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Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas Philippines executive secretary

MANILA, June 23, 2016— A Catholic priest known for his advocacy against irresponsible mining and climate change is hopeful there will be a stronger focus on the environment under Gina Lopez’s leadership.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said he is more optimistic how the next administration will perform in protecting the country’s natural resources.

“By appointing Gina Lopez, the incoming President (Rodrigo Duterte) clearly articulated the policy shift to sustainable green agenda,” said Gariguez, who received this year’s “environmental hero” award from the Jesuit-run Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City.

The priest said the appointment is a welcome development considering that incoming DENR secretary is among the “champions” in caring for the earth.

“That is truly the mandate of the DENR and not to promote mining in our ecologically threatened ecosystems,” said Gariguez, who was also among the recipients of the GAIA Awards at the Earth Day Jam 2016 in Manila.

He also expects a stronger collaboration not just between the government and the Church but also with the civil society organizations in opposing “environmentally destructive projects” and in “pursuing the agenda for climate justice.”

Lopez on Tuesday accepted Duterte’s offer to head the DENR. (CBCPNews)

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