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Gina Lopez
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Gina Lopez, former environment sec, dies

Former Environment and Natural Resources secretary Gina Lopez has died of cancer this morning. Aside from being Environment and Natural Resources secretary from 2016 to 2017, she was also the former chief of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission and head of the ABS-CBN Foundation.

Lopez was born on Dec. 27, 1953 to Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr., son of Eugenio Lopez Sr., the founder of ABS-CBN, and Regina La’O.

In 1994, Lopez began heading ABS-CBN Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the TV network. Her first project under the foundation was the Bantay Bata 163, a hotline for abused and neglected children. She also established the foundation’s Bantay Kalikasan program, which promoted environmental protection, preservation and sustainable development. Through Bantay Kailkasan, she spearheaded the rehabilitation and protection of the La Mesa Watershed and the establishment of the La Mesa Eco Park.

In 2010, Lopez was appointed head of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. Under her leadership, the commission embarked on a highly successful cleanup and rehabilitation of Pasig River as well as the major esteros or canals that lead to it.

In 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Lopez as Environment and Natural Resources Secretary. One of her major policies was the ban on open pit mining, which put her at odds with several local and foreign mining companies operating in the country. In February 2017, she also ordered the closure of 23 metallic mines after an industry-wide audit revealed various violations of environmental laws.

Despite strong approval of her policies from the public and President Duterte himself, the Commission on Appointments rejected her appointment in May 2017. Retired general Roy Cimatu was appointed as her replacement.

Before her death, Lopez hosted the sustainable tourism and lifestyle show G Diaries on ABS-CBN.

References:

Sabillo, Kristine. “Gina Lopez, earth warrior, dies at 65.” ABS-CBN News. August 19, 2019.

Viray, Patricia Lourdes. “Passionate environmentalist Gina Lopez succumbs to cancer.” The Philippine STAR. August 19, 2019.

Gina Lopez to do ‘whatever it takes’ to keep open-pit ban.ABS-CBN. October 25, 2017.

Patinio, Ferdinand. “DENR urged to enforce suspension vs large-scale mines.Philippine News Agency. September 18, 2018.

Simeon, Maureen Louise. “Duterte firm on open pit ban.The Philippine STAR. July 6, 2018.

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