Lopez defends assignments of DENR officials


Posted at Mar 09 2017 11:07 AM

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez gestures during a Reuters interview at the DENR headquarters in Manila on Feb. 6, 2017. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

MANILA – Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Thursday defended her decision to assign undersecretaries as provincial officers, saying she needed the right people to run the agency.

During a hearing of the Commission on Appointments, Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Sato said allowing undersecretaries to take over as provincial environment and natural resources officers (PENRO) had “demoralized” the department.

“I have the right to choose my team,” Lopez told the commission. Sato said she hoped Lopez would “revisit and reconsider” such a practice.

Lopez said she needed “good people on the ground” to stamp out corruption in the DENR and transform it into a development agency from a regulator.

“I don’t have the luxury of time. I have to work and I need to make things happen. I need to work with people who I trust and people who have the expertise and the capacity to do what I want,” she said.