DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Gina Lopez will be the next leader of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In a text message on Tuesday, June 21, Lopez confirmed to Rappler that she has decided to accept the offer of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to be DENR secretary. Duterte made the offer on Monday, June 20.
The environmentalist and ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation chairperson said she sees her future role as more than a "regulator" of environmentally-sensitive projects.
"I don't just want to regulate, I want to address the poverty," she said.
Lopez added that using natural resources to address poverty need not come at the expense of the environment.
"It can be done if we keep our resources safe. That's my experience," she said.
Lopez is known to oppose controversial mining projects. Duterte, however, has said that he will allow "responsible mining" because of laws and contracts already signed by the government.
Lopez is also a staunch critic of using fossil fuels as energy sources. She has campaigned against coal mining, advocating instead that eco-tourism be used to boost local economies.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.