MANILA –Environment chief Gina Lopez publicly apologized Monday (April 10) for negative feelings her environmental protection and social justice crusade may have caused some people.
“I understand and can feel the angst my repartee has had on many and acknowledge that in my effort to impart my perspective, I was inordinately judgmental,” she said in a statement.
Lopez released the statement after BusinessWorld said an exchange over mining ensued this week between her and this paper’s reporter Janina Lim who was with a colleague at the time.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) action against alleged erring mining companies nationwide is among issues Lopez is facing.
Mining is also a central issue in Commission on Appointments hearings regarding her possible confirmation as DENR head.
According to Business World, Lopez suggested during the exchange that reporters scrutinizing her mining directives – which mining companies and various sectors continue opposing – are “already being bought by greed and selfishness.”
Lim denied the allegation, said Business World.
Business World said its editor-in-chief Roby Alampay assured the paper is standing by Lim’s dignity and idealism.
“It is unfortunate, and we are dismayed, that a public servant would attack and malign the integrity of a journalist who is simply doing her job,” BusinessWorld also quoted Alampay as saying.
Lopez noted despite explaining need for DENR to addressirresponsible mining and its ills, she found Lim’s line of questioning “decidedly technical even if the situation merits some kind of compassion.”
The DENR chief said she already recognizes everyone has the right to be what they want to be, however.
“I have no right to put them down for whatever so to Janina and everyone, this might have hurt … I apologize deeply,” she said in her statement.
Lopez clarified her repartee with Lim isn’t a “judgment on Business World or the media or journalists.”
She noted the repartee isn’t also a judgment on any line of inquiry.
“I’m in favor of questioning,” she said. “It’s healthy. That’s how we move forward. It’s when questioning comes from an already closed mind that is counter-productive.”
Lopez, a media heiress, assured she has “much sincere affection and respect for economists, journalists and the press.”
She urged such parties to “keep the light shining brightly for our country” and help the Philippines move forward.
“There are so many journalists and economists with deep intuitive minds, objectivity with integrity, compassion with vision – that kind of standard will bring the country forward,” she said.