MANILA—Brandishing flags and banners to decry mining, over 2,000 people gathered Wednesday morning in front of the Senate in Pasay City to rally in support of Environment Sec. Gina Lopez and her anti-mining initiatives.
“Sec. Gina, ikumpirma! Senado, senado, maglingkod sa Pilipino, hindi sa minero! (Confirm Sec. Gina! Senate, senate, serve Filipinos not miners!)” protesters chanted.
Among the groups present in the rally was the anit-mining group Alyansa Tigil Mina which held a banner that read: “Protect the environment. Defend people’s rights. Confirm Sec. Gina Lopez.”
Lopez’s confirmation was deferred after the Senate underwent a reorganization on Monday with new leadership positions and chairmanships decided.
Several oppositions have also been filed before the Commission on Appointments (CA) panel on Lopez’s confirmation.
Around 19,000 people are expected to be “directly affected” by the closing of mines, Lopez said. She, however, assured that displaced miners could be trained to practice ecotourism as it has more long-term benefits as against mining.
Police say that protesters were in the Senate as early as 10 a.m. to show support for Lopez, who previously ordered the closure of 23 metallic mines and suspension of five others for serious environmental violations discovered.
Lopez, who briefly showed up in the rally, expressed gratitude for their support.
“Para sa kalikasan! Para sa bayan! (For the environment! For the nation!)” she said.