MANILA—Despite growing opposition against her confirmation before the Commission on Appointments (CA), Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Tuesday said that she was unfazed knowing the people are with her.
At present, there are 23 sworn oppositions to Lopez’s confirmation filed before the CA.
Lopez said that she knew that the people, particularly environmental advocates, are behind her.
Meanwhile, she asked members of the CA with mining interests to inhibit from the CA.
“You cannot make decisions based on your pocket. It’s wrong,” Lopez said.
Lopez is set to face CA Committee on Environment on Wednesday (March 8, 2017).
Her confirmation was deferred after the Senate underwent a reorganization on February 27 with new Senate leadership positions and chairmanships decided.
She gained the ire of lawmakers, mostly from the House of Representatives, for having ordered the closure of 23 metallic mines and suspension of five others for serious environmental violations discovered.
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 had more long-term benefits.
Last week, thousands of people gathered in front of the Senate in Pasay City to rally for Lopez’s confirmation.
Among the groups present in the rally was the anti-mining group Alyansa Tigil Mina which held a banner that read: “Protect the environment. Defend people’s rights. Confirm Sec. Gina Lopez.”
Aside from Lopez, also slated for confirmation is Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. However, senators previously cast their doubts on his confirmation following the release of documents which showed that Yasay reportedly renounced his US citizenship at the US Embassy in Manila on June 28, 2016 or two days before Pres. Rodrigo Duterte appointed him to the cabinet.
During the CA hearing last February 22, Yasay said that although he applied for a US citizenship, his application was denied which is contrary to the documents that stated that he did possess a US citizenship.
Yasay’s confirmation was suspended due to pending concerns of some congressmen.
In a separate interview, Yasay maintained that he never lied about his citizenship.