DENR chief urged to ‘resign now’

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A consumer and commuter group, along with environmentalists, on Friday urged Secretary Regina Paz Lopez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to resign from her post for alleged corruption.

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In a news conference held in Quezon City, the United Filipino Consumers and Commuters (UFCC), Coalition of Clean Air Advocates of the Philippines and Water for All Reform Movement clarified that they were not endorsing anyone to replace Lopez.

“Is she really qualified to properly manage the DENR to finally benefit [the]people or is she just a fairy tale that we all badly need to have or create because of our infinite disgust and disappointment against corruption in the DENR?” UFCC president Rodolfo Javellana Jr. said.

“If she can’t perform her duties and responsibilities well, she has no right to stay as the secretary of DENR even for a second,” he added.

The UFCC and the two other groups disclosed that they met with Lopez on August 2, 2016 to discuss their concerns about the allegedly anomalous purchase of air pollution monitors by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau last 2003 “amounting to roughly a billion pesos.”

According to Javellana, Lopez’ “failure” to address the issue over the purchase of the air air pollution monitors prompted them to file a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman and a petition before the Commission on Appointments (CA), blocking and opposing her confirmation as secretary of the DENR.

“She did not act on our request for an investigation into the questionable procurement of the air monitoring equipment,” Javellana said.

“We are seeking the truth and by so doing, we will unmask them,” he added.

Javellana said Lopez is “incompetent” to head the Environment department and the UFCC and the other groups will exert efforts to block Lopez’s confirmation by the CA.

UFCC vice chairman Ferdinand Pasion also slammed Lopez, this time over the closure of the Payatas landfill on Quezon City because of the possible impact of the dump on the water table at La Mesa Dam, also in the city.

“[The DENR] cannot just shut down the Payatas landfill just like that. We need to ensure that there will be an alternative measure. Where will it [garbage]be dumped if the landfill will be closed?” Pasion said.

DEMPSEY REYES

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