Confirm Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez.
This is the resounding message of Filipinos on social media, who have called on members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) to back President Rodrigo Duterte’s choice for the government’s environmental portfolio.
The CA’s failure to confirm Lopez has been criticized by Filipino netizens from around the world, many of whom cannot understand why CA members have been blocking the appointment of Lopez, who was reappointed by the President last month.
“What’s their (CA) problem,” asked Nilda Hinse who could not understand why the CA bypassed Lopez, who is “honest,” and has “a big heart for the people and the environment.”
The reluctance of the CA to confirm Lopez has enraged netizens like Rudy Manansala, who called for the abolition of the CA and for netizens to rally support for the confirmation of Lopez: “it should be for the People to decide, not just a few Senators and Congressmen! People should rally to pressure these few people deciding our future!”
According to Eduardo Jose Tan, several members of the CA with ties to the mining industry “should have inhibited themselves kasi may vested interests; walang delikadeza ang iba.”
Even Filipinos abroad have weighed in on the confirmation of Lopez. Rosalinda Florentino, an overseas Filipino worker based in the United Arab Emirates, praised the DENR chief, and said that Lopez is the first DENR Secretary to make a difference at the agency.
“Puro inutil ang nakaraang secretary; nakakahiya! Kayo lang Madam Gina and kumilos ng tunay; tuloy-tuloy lang po,” said Florentino.
(The past secretaries have been useless, and it’s shameful! Only you Madam Gina have really done something; keep going Ma’am!)
Janylle Jane, a Filipino based in Canada, echoed Florentino’s sentiments as she thanked Lopez “for protecting the environment.”
Many netizens said they would pray for the confirmation of Lopez, including Santiago Eslaban Jr., who said that he hoped the CA would confirm the DENR head “kasi mas maraming kabutihan siyang nagawa at magagawa pa nya para sa ating bansa (she has done a lot of good and there is a lot more good she can do for our country.)”
Other netizens compared Lopez to previous well-loved cabinet secretaries like the late Department of Health Secretary Juan Flavier. Val Mangubat said that Lopez reminded him of Flavier because people loved the former senator even if “his initiatives raised some eyebrows, definitely ruffled some feathers.”
Lopez is set to face the CA for the third time on May 2. The DENR chief has faced strong opposition from the mining industry, which has criticized Lopez’s no-compromise approach to the enforcement of environmental laws.
Boy Jarlego Garcia, for his part, cannot understand why a cabinet secretary doing her job would face such an uphill climb to get confirmed.
“The plight of Gina before the CA says a lot about why ours is a God-forsaken country. The doers are given the hardest time to be confirmed for reasons really difficult to comprehend.”
Lopez is one of the few cabinet secretaries who maintains an official Facebook page. The page has over 430,000 followers, with some posts getting over three millions views and close to 100,000 shares.