Shyla Francisco, News5
President Rodrigo Duterte has renewed the ad-interim appointment of conservation advocate Regina Lopez as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Res0urces (DENR).
Lopez, in turn, expressed gratitude to President Duterte for his abiding faith in her in the face of criticisms directed at the alleged mining interest of the Lopez family.
No less than President Duterte himself, while on a visit to Bahrain about a week ago, mentioned that they are into mining: “May subsidiary sila (they have a [mining] subsidiary).”
But Ms. Lopez stood firm that her family has no connection with mining: “Someone is feeding him [Duterte] wrong information.”
In one of the Commission on Appointments hearings, however, one oppositor to her appointment, University of the Philippines Professor Carlo Arcilla indicated that her inaccurate definitions and insistence on a total ban on open pit mining has unwittingly put her at odds with the activities of First Balfour, a Lopez Group company with a substantial presence in the general engineering contracting industry.
Arcilla asked why Ms. Lopez, who takes a strong stance on protecting watershed areas, apparently did not touch First Balfour’s quarrying activity in the proximity of a watershed in Batangas Province.
This, he added, was in the face of her orders to cancel the mining permits of other companies operating near First Balfour.
The CA confirmation hearings resume this May.
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