Bayan Muna reps remember Gina Lopez’s courage as environmental activist
MANILA, Philippines — Representatives of the progressive Bayan Muna party-list on Monday expressed their heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of Gina Lopez, whom they remembered as a dauntless environmental activist.
ABS-CBN said Lopez succumbed to brain cancer on Monday at the age of 65.
“Nawalan ng isang matapang na tagapagtanggol ng kalikasan sa pagkawala ni Gina,” House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said in a statement. “Pero we will continue her legacy and continue the struggle for the preservation of the environment.”
Zarate said he had worked with the former environment chief when he was the chairman of the House natural resources committee in pushing for the People’s Mining Bill in the 17th Congress.
Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, meanwhile, recalled how Lopez used to visit indigenous peoples’ communities and learn their way of life as well as their struggle for their ancestral land and the environment.
“Napakamasayahin nya, positibo ang pananaw at palaging inuuna ang usapin ng kalikasan,” said the Manobo lawmaker, recalling the late Lopez’s visit to their Kampuhan (encampment) at the grounds of the University of the Philippines.
Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, for his part, admired how Lopez was “on a league of her own in fighting for the environment,” not stopping even if she has to go against big mining or logging companies.
“… (I)f they are destroying the natural order of things, she will do all she can to stop them,” Gaite added.
In February 2017, Lopez ordered the closure and suspension of destructive mining corporations. The ABS-CBN Foundation chair also canceled 75 contracts for mining projects located in watersheds.
But in May of the same year, the Commission on Appointments voted to end her 10-month service.
Lopez’ family has requested donations for ABS-CBN Foundation in lieu of flowers and Mass cards, the foundation said. /je
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