MANILA (UPDATE 2) - ABS-CBN Foundation chairperson Gina Lopez has accepted President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's offer to lead the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Lopez on Tuesday night accepted Duterte's offer on Tuesday night, after the two talked on the phone.
Lopez was offered the position during a courtesy call at the Presidential Guest House in DPWH Panacan Depot, Davao City on Monday afternoon.
Lopez said Monday that she would "seriously, seriously consider it," adding it was an "attractive" one.
“I want to say whether I’m in DENR or not, I will give my 100 percent support to this very good man,” Lopez said, referring to Duterte.
Lopez said she only met with Duterte on Monday to raise some concerns about the mining industry in the Philippines.
“I just wanted to give him some ideas, then he offered the position. Nagulat na nga ako eh. Sabi ko, 'Sir alam mo magiging controversial ako',” she told ABS-CBN News in an interview at Davao City’s airport on Monday.
Lopez, who is known for her anti-mining advocacy, said she admires Duterte for showing genuine concern for the environment and the welfare of farmers and fishermen.
Duterte considers the DENR post one of the most important in his Cabinet, as he seeks to end destructive mining in the Philippines.
The president-elect earlier offered the DENR post to the Left but later changed his mind.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison on Tuesday said he welcomes the Duterte's designation of Lopez as environment secretary.
Sison said Duterte's decision fits the communist movement’s anti-mining advocacy.
“Mabuti naman. Kasi si Gina Lopez, matagal nang advocate. Laban siya sa mining at pollutant types of energy. Angkop yung appointment,” Sison said during a video conference in Davao City.
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, in an earlier reaction to the DENR post being offered to Lopez, said the group wants to "stress its continuing advocacy for responsible mining to benefit Filipinos not just in mining communities but around the country."
"This as we stress the need for a Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary who has a solid background on the intricacies of natural resources management and someone who is able to balance economic growth and the needs of the people with that of environmental protection, the protection of indigenous communities and the society," said Chamber of Mines executive director Nelia Halcon.
Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation expressed its support for its chairman.
In a statement, the foundation said Lopez’ accomplishments prove her dedication and passion to protect the environment.
“Gina Lopez's laudable and pioneering efforts in rehabilitating the La Mesa Watershed, in restoring the Pasig River through cleaning the esteros and in launching the ecotourism sites in the 13 provinces all over the archipelago are testament to her dedication and passion to protect, conserve and promote the environment.”
The foundation also wishes Lopez luck in her new role as DENR secretary, and hopes that her term will yield positive effects on the environment.
“We wish our Chairman the best as she leads the DENR in the next six years in bringing about positive change towards the management, conservation and the utilization of our environment and natural resources to support the country's sustainable and inclusive development.” - with a report from Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News
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