TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan- Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla expressed his disappointment in the rejection of Gina Lopez as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In a phone interview, Padilla said the Commission of Appointments’ (CA) decision to reject Lopez was a “setback” in his fight against mining of natural resources.
Padilla in earlier interviews expressed “optimism” in the appointment of Lopez as environment secretary to “pursue his fight against environmental destructions” in the form of mining. SHe also earlier said he will push for “zero mining” in Nueva Vizcaya.
Nueva Vizcaya province hosted one of the country’s biggest foreign mining company, the OceanaGold.
The powerful CA rejected Lopez’s appointment in a 16-8 secret balloting vote.
Lopez is one of the most popular cabinet official of the Duterte administration who vowed to fight “irresponsible” miners in the country. Several mining companies are already facing closures since she seated.
Padilla, however, said the Lopez’s rejection in the CA “will not deter us in pursuing our fight.”
“We feel bad. Masama ang loob natin. Pero optimistic tayo na sana ‘yung ipinaglaban ni Gina ay nasa lebel din ni [President Rodrigo Duterte] para naman hindi masayang iyong sinimulan ni Gina,” Padilla told The Northern Forum.
He added that he has yet to talk to Lopez since her rejection at the CA.
Asked if he will ask the Congress’ help to stop mining in Vizcaya, a “hesitant” Padilla said what happened to Lopez is a manifestation that it would be “more difficult” to ask help from lawmakers.
“Iyong i-confirm nga si Gina as DENR secretary hindi nila, iyan pa kaya. Mas mahirap laban sa Kongreso,” Padilla, who earlier talked before the El Salvador congress at the eve of the passing of law banning metallic mining in the
He said many of the lawmakers have “vested interests” in mining industry, barring them to act in favor of petitions against “erring” mining companies. Northernforum.net