Did the mining companies win in Gina’s rejection?
HOTSPOT - Mocha Uson (The Philippine Star) - May 9, 2017 - 12:00am

Just like with any other stories, there are two sides to everything: while Secretary Gina is being accused of favoring other mining companies because of family connections, some of the member of the CA (Commission on Appointments) are also being accused of being biased in their stance against the DENR Secretary because of their connection to the mining companies. Like San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, whose brother is the chairman of one of the biggest mining firms in the Philippines, who seems to be one of those against the appointment of Gina Lopez as DENR Secretary. Even other Senators like Senator Cayetano is being accused of voting against Gina Lopez because of political reasons. However, in this issue between Gina Lopez and Senator Cayetano, truth will come out in time. What we must focus on is the evident situation that this issue is being used by the opponents of the President to divide the Duterte team; there are even politicians who are claiming that the President could have influenced the vote of his allies if he truly supports Secretary Gina. For me, the President should not be dragged in the issue since we have seen that he supported Secretary Gina and her decisions like shutting down mining operations. I also find it ironic that there are politicians who would question why the President didn’t influenced the decision of the CA, even though they are also the same people accusing the President of meddling in the affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This cemented the fact that President Duterte respects the other branches of the government and that he is not one to use his power to get what he wants. Just like other people, the allies of the President and his Cabinet Secretaries may have different opinions but even if they don't always see eye to eye; they all support the goal of the President to uplift the lives of the Filipino people. What happened to Secretary Gina only shows that they are not being controlled by the President and that we are not in a state of fascism nor do we have a tyrant leader as others claim, and I believe that if he has the option of reappointing Gina Lopez as DENR Secretary, he would appoint her again.

Now, the question is, have we lost? Did the irresponsible mining companies win? I don’t think so, they may have won a battle but they have not yet won the war. Secretary Gina have opened the eyes of the Filipinos on the dangers of irresponsible mining, she has shown us how our environment is being destroyed by mining companies that don’t seem to care what happens to our environment as long as they get the resources they need for their profit. Our eyes are now open and surely, the people will now watch the mining companies closely to ensure that the fight of Secretary Gina, the fight for our right to clean environment will continue. If President Duterte will also temporarily head the DENR, like what DOJ Secretary Aguirre said, I am sure that he will continue the fight of Secretary Gina because just like what he said last March about the mining industry:

“We can live without it. I would rather follow Gina . . . Get the P70 billion somewhere else, preserve the environment. Huwag na tayo magbolahan.”

Kaya if you have something in mind against Gina Lopez. Kindly rethink. Think of her passion.”

Also, in her own words, Secretary Gina Lopez also believes that only President Duterte could replace her as head of DENR:

“My choice for DENR secretary is President Duterte… I can’t think of any other person. It needs guts. It needs tapang because you have to step on business interest.”

So, to the irresponsible mining companies, do not celebrate yet because you will have to face the President himself if you continue to destroy our environment for your profit. You also have the Filipino people watching your every move.

Now that President Duterte will head the DENR, I feel relieved because I know that the fight to protect our environment is far from over and I believe that the President’s top priority is to ensure a better future for Filipinos. We must now move on from the sadness we felt over Secretary Gina’s rejection, we must now think forward on what we can do to ensure that her fight will not be in vain. The fight is not yet over at DENR, we must fight together with the President to guarantee that business interest does not triumph over the environment and the people. Let’s move on from the past but let’s continue to fight for our future.

GINA’S REJECTION
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