A disaster if Gina is not confirmed
Why is Agusan del Sur, a province heavily mined and supposed to be earning tons of money from mining, still poor and has an insurgency problem?
The New People’s Army (NPA) is active in areas where poverty is prevalent.
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez wanted to know and has found the answer: The P50-million social development and management program (SDMP) fund probably goes to corrupt mining officials in cahoots with local politicians.
The P50 million is set aside by mining companies in their sites of operation to be spent on communities surrounding the mining areas.
But the money, Lopez implies, is not being spent to improve the lives of the poor people in mining areas.
So, the chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has asked the NPA to monitor how the SDMP fund is being spent by the mining firms.
Lopez met with NPA leaders in Davao City, the last leg of her one-day trip on Tuesday, which took her to Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Davao City.
Accompanying her on the trip were former Bayan party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, former ambassador Joe Zaide, a columnist of the Manila Bulletin, and this columnist.
Lopez showed genuine concern for the welfare of the people in mining areas.
In a mining site our group visited in Surigao del Norte, Lopez berated officials after they lied that the mine was closed down years ago for an environmental disaster similar to the one that happened at Marcopper Mines in Marinduque province.
It will be a disaster for our environment and natural resources if she is not confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) just because she has closed down many mining sites.
Several members of the CA have stakes in mining or are friends of mine company owners.
And, irony of ironies, a fellow Cabinet member is opposing her confirmation!
Gina Lopez—who as a private citizen was active in protecting the environment and our forests and rivers—is perhaps the only DENR chief who does not kowtow to politicians just so her appointment will be confirmed.
One of us asked Lopez on board the plane what she would do if her appointment is not confirmed.
“I’ll go back to protecting the environment as a private citizen,” she said.
#MochaGirls #MochaUson #SecGinaLopez #DENR #IllegalMining #IllegalLogging #IllegalFishPens #SaveTheEnvironment #Duterte #StopMining