MANILA -- Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar described on Monday former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez as an environmental advocate whose strong anti-illegal mining stance was contagious.
Lopez, 65, died on Monday from multiple organ failure after battling cancer, according to a statement from ABS-CBN.
Gina was one of the original members of the Duterte Cabinet that I had the privilege working closely with, especially during the height of her anti-illegal mining campaign, Andanar said in a statement.
Gina's passion to save the world was contagious. She is truly a good maverick and patriot. The world will not be the same without a Gina Lopez, he added.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, meanwhile, admitted that he and Lopez did not always agree on the same policies but never lost respect for each other.
We had some slight differences on certain policies during our stint as members of the cabinet but remained as friends, Medialdea said.
We extend our condolences to the entire family and shall offer prayers for the eternal repose of her soul. Rest in peace, Gina he added.
Former Special Assistant to the President and now Senator Christopher Bong Go thanked Lopez for her service and for being a model of true service to the Filipino people.
Go described her as passionate, dedicated and humble and a public servant and as an Earth warrior.
She was a fearless advocate and a tireless philanthropist, dedicating most of her life for the betterment of her fellow Filipinos. Her exceptional dedication in protecting our environment has no equal today, Go said.
Ma'am Gina, taus-pusong pasasalamat po sa inyong hindi napapantayang serbisyo sa kapwa Pilipino. Isa kang katangi-tanging modelo ng tunay na pagmamalasakit sa kapwa tao (my most sincere thank you for your unmatched service for fellow Filipinos. You are a model or true service to Filipino). May your legacy continue for the generations to come, he added.
Duterte appointed Lopez as Environment Secretary but was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) on May 3, 2017.
During her term, Lopez ordered the closure of over-mining companies as these affected watersheds, and also threatened to ban open-pit mining in the country, a move which did not sit well with the mining industry.
Prior to being Environment chief, Lopez was also long-time chairperson of ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI). (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency