How Gina Lopez plans to fight illegal loggers, fishers

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2016 05:05 PM

DENR Sec. Gina Lopez answers questions during a press conference at the DENR Headquarters in Quezon City, Friday. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said Wednesday she would form a strike force of former police and military personnel to fight illegal loggers and fishermen.

Lopez likened the unit to a police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, that is known for swift and precise raids.

"I think that's why [President Rodrigo] Duterte was elected because they felt he's an action man. I want to manifest that same kind of action scenario with regards to saving the environment, if only to give the message that, 'Don't do this because people suffer,'" Lopez told reporters.

Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Ricardo Visayas are helping her form the team, Lopez said.

Lopez, a known environment advocate, has also cracked down on unsafe mining, suspending five operations since assuming office last June 30.