GREENPEACE Philippines (GP) has expressed support to Environment Secretary Regina Lopez in her crusade against industries that she said have been putting the environment in danger.
GP Country Director Amalie Conchelle Obusan said Greenpeace adds its voice to the growing number of people, organizations and communities calling for the confirmation of Lopez as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Obusan said the secretary’s non-confirmation may put a halt to the progress and achievements already being made by the DENR that Filipinos have not seen since it was created.
“We support the actions that the incumbent [Lopez] has undertaken thus far, especially in the mining sector, where industry giants continuously put our environment and communities in danger,” she noted.
Lopez faced the Committee on Appointments on Wednesday after her confirmation hearing, along with Education secretary Leonor Briones, last February 28 were postponed following the reorganization in the Senate leadership.
Meanwhile, Greepeace also supports the DENR’s ongoing dismantling of illegal fishpens on Laguna de Bay that threaten small fishermen.
“We are hoping that Secretary Lopez’s focus and political will would extend as well to other urgent environmental issues such as stopping the proliferation of coal, arresting coastal reclamation, the need for a pollution release and transfer registry (PRTR) and addressing plastic pollution and wildlife trafficking,” Obusan said.
She added that there is a need for the agency to also focus on waste importation and the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment, opposing waste-to-energy (WTE) technologies, going after illegal fishers and supporting small fishermen and poor Filipinos, among other concerns.
“We look forward to her fearlessness and fervor expanding to address these other environment challenges as
well. Assigning someone else who does not possess Secretary Lopez’s same resolute drive and commitment may be a step back for the DENR,” Obusan said.
She added that the confirmation of the DENR secretary is a matter of both urgency and continuity for environmental reforms.
“This is one sign that the Duterte administration is actually committed to its promise of positive change over the greed of the few that has for many years ravaged the environment and the lives of the Filipino people,” Obusan said.