Catholic bishops of Philippines said that Gina Lopez’s rejection as environment chief is a ‘great loss’ to the nation.
The lawmakers’ on Wednesday rejected the appointment of Gina Lopez as Environment Secretary, who earlier had ordered the closure of at least 23 mining operations, mostly located in functional watersheds and did not comply with environmental safety standards.
Caritas Philippines’ executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez, who had earlier expressed support for a government plan to work with communist New People's Army (NPA) in implementing projects that will protect the environment said, it was expected since some members of the Commission on Appointments have ties to mining firms. He had hoped that the initiative of Gina Lopez would help open a window for peace.
Retired Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa said the Commission on Appointments’ decision to reject Lopez as environment secretary “unmasks the kind of leaders we have, they betray God and our people because of self interest. And because of the interest of the abusive few, God’s creation and the environment meant for the common good is further exposed to degradation,” he said.
Several diocesan social action directors also rallied behind Lopez and scored how the supposed interests of a few won over the common good.
For Fr. Guillermo Alorro of the Calbayog diocesan Social Action Center, the CA’s decision only proves that “doing good for the people and protecting their basic rights to live a descent life is a misnomer nowadays”.
Lopez had announced on April 20 a plan to enlist the help of rebel fighters in implementing projects in mining communities, especially in the southern province of Agusan del Norte. (CBCP)