Group calls rejection of Sec. Gina’s appointment a “disaster” for the environment


Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), a coalition of mining-affected communities, expressed indignation after the powerful Commission on Appointment’s (CA) thumbed down today the appointment of Ms. Gina Lopez as head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“This is a tragedy for the environment as well as for the rights and welfare of our people. Sec. Gina’s rejection is a betrayal of the people, and specifically of mining-affected communities who are protecting their lives and livelihoods by resisting destructive large-scale mining.” lamented Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM. He also added that it was pretty clear that the influential mining industry exerted efforts to block the confirmation of Ms. Lopez.

According to Dr. Ben Molino, ATM Chairperson, people suffering from the negative effects of mining began to see hope when DENR, under Ms. Lopez’s leadership issued cancellation orders against twenty-three (23) mining projects and suspended another five (5) mining operations.

“But we are not disheartened, regardless of who will replace Sec. Gina, we will continue to strengthen our ranks to end destructive mining operations that is killing our people and destroying our country.” Dr. Molino added.

Garganera also observed that the endorsement of President Duterte and the public’s clamor as manifested in social media and in a recent survey for the confirmation of Ms. Lopez were no match against the lobby of the mining industry.

“Clearly our Congress does not represent the Filipino people. It only shows that politicians are still not to be trusted to think and decide beyond their self-interests,” said Garganera.

In a press briefing last March 29, ATM challenged member legislators of the CA who has mining interests to inhibit from the deliberation of Ms. Lopez’s confirmation. Based on ATM research, CA members with links to mining are Senators Alan Cayetano and Panfilo Lacson and House members Ronaldo Zamora and Wes Gatchalian.

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ATM is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who are opposing the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines.

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 <nc@alyansatigilmina.net>

Karl Isaac Santos, Media and Communications Officer, (0917) 149.17.17 <media.comms@alyansatigilmina.net>

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