Malacañang mourns demise of former DENR chief Gina Lopez
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday mourned the death of former environment secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez, described as one of the most “passionate” Cabinet members of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“News has reached the Office of the President that former Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Regina Paz L. Lopez has passed, and it is with a heavy heart that we express our sincerest condolences to her family, relatives, friends and loved ones,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
“The Palace deeply grieves the demise of one of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s most passionate Cabinet members whose environmental advocacy and legacy remain unparalleled to this day,” Panelo added.
In a statement, ABS-CBN said Lopez died Monday at the age of 65.
The television network said Lopez succumbed to brain cancer.
Duterte appointed Lopez as environment secretary but the environment advocate’s appointment was rejected by the powerful Commission on Appointments.
Lopez faced strong opposition from business groups and even some Cabinet members for her anti-mining stance, even ordering the closure and suspension of some mining operations in the country.
A 1997 International Public Relations Awardee for Excellence for the Environment and the 2009 Outstanding Manilan Awardee for the Environment, 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.”
“She would be greatly missed,” Panelo said.
“As we pay tribute and give honor to this warrior and advocate, we fervently pray for the Almighty to grant her eternal repose. May the perpetual light shine upon her,” he added.
In a Palace briefing, Panelo said Lopez was “the epitome of grace even under fire during her confirmation proceeding.”
“She impressed me particularly for having a good heart, a generous heart, always thinking of the upliftment of the poor, improving their status in life,” he said.
“She had indefatigable spirit. And on top of that she was a fierce protector of the environment and she didn’t stop even if she didn’t get the confirmation of being the secretary of DENR, she pursued her advocacy to the limits. Until the life
In a statement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar hailed Lopez’ passion for saving the environment.
Andanar said Lopez “was one of the original members of the Duterte Cabinet that I had the privilege [of] working closely with, especially during the height of her anti-illegal mining campaign.”
“Gina’s passion to save the world was contagious. She is truly a good maverick and patriot. The world will not be the same without a Gina Lopez,” he added. /gsg
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.