Following threats of blocking Regina “Gina” Lopez’s appointment as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary, a network of individuals advocating for the environment gathered last Feb. 22 at Habi at Kape, Abreeza Corporate Center to garner support for the confirmation of Lopez appointment as well as exchange views on the Philippines’ mining situation in a press conference.
Ateneo de Davao University Community Engagement and Advocacy Center (AdDU-CEAC) Chair Atty. Romeo Cabarde, Jr., former National Commission for Culture and Arts Music Committee Chairman Joey Ayala, and representatives from organizations such as MASIPAG, MAKABAYAN and the Gabriela Women’s Partylist were part of the discussion.
The speakers emphasized their support to confirm Lopez’s appointment and tackled alternatives for those citizens that will be affected by the shutting down of numerous large scale mining companies located in Mindanao.
“We should give Gina a chance to prove that mining is not the only way to sustain and keep the life within the community. Mining companies capitalize on emotional blackmailing. Yes, it is difficult to find a job but you cannot find another earth,” Cabarde said.
When a member of the press asked what would happen if ever Lopez will not be confirmed, a representative from MAKABAYAN Coalition said that they will still resort to pressure politics until what they want will happen.
Bai Ali G. Indayla, a youth leader from the Gabriela Women’s Partylist added that it is the government’s main responsibility to find jobs for those affected rather than that of the DENR’s..
Ayala also stressed the need for a change in general perspective regarding the mining issue.
“We need to spread the idea of simple living and appreciating the simple and real things in life,” he expressed.