Aug. 19, 2019
Quezon City – Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) is deeply saddened with the demise of Ms. Gina Lopez. She was a bastion of environmental activism, and a source of hope and inspiration for many communities and organizations that had the opportunity to work and be served by her. She will be sorely missed.
ATM knows very well the passion and dedication mam Gina brought with her in fighting for the rights of mining-affected communities, and for challenging the powerful mining industry because of the latter’s environmental destruction and non-compliance with our environmental laws. For ten months as DENR Secretary, mam Gina did the unthinkable – ordering the conduct of a mine audit, cancelling the mining contracts or suspending the operations of 26 mining projects and issuing new policies that ensure the mining industry is up to international standards on transparency and disclosures.
That she was rejected by the powerful Commission on Appointments does not mean she is not fit to be DENR Secretary. It only shows that the tentacles of corporate interests and corrupt agenda of politicians still how a commanding sway in our government.
A labor leader reminded us today that “it is rare to have an oligarch wage a battle against her own class”. This reflects how clear the mission was to her.
For many of us, this was how she wanted to be remembered: strong but sensitive, with a smile. Her values were unwavering. It was always personal for her, because the advocacies for her were all about people’s lives. How can it not be personal, when you know that this destruction will impact other people and especially the next generation?
Many of the young people in the anti-mining campaign were touched by mam Gina, and we are sure that they wanted to tell her many things – that they started to find their place in serving the country through the eyes and experiences of a Gina Lopez.
She kept on reminding many of us that “courage and compassion amidst adversity is the best kind of love”. And that love is enough to take things on.
It started out as a sad day for many of us in the environmental movement. We are sure many tears will be shed. But we are inspired with the last text message mam Gina sent to the Green Thumb Coalition a few days back – “I could feel your hearts and immediately got teary-eyed. Love you all deeply…thanks so much for keeping the light shining. There really is a power to love, and this love in your hearts will carry this country forward”.
The least we could do, is to keep the love and light shining.
Rest well mam Gina, spread your wings and fly happily.
From your family at Alyansa Tigil Mina
ATM National Coordinator
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