Gina Lopez (left), Archbishop Ramon Arguelles (2nd from right) and other rallyists raise their fists during the “Walk for the Environment” outside the Senate building in Manila on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. CBCPNews file photo
Catholic bishops said that Gina Lopez’s rejection as environment chief is a ‘great loss’ to the nation.
Bishop Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao believes that Lopez is the right person for the job if only to protect the environment and take care of the country’s remaining resources.
“She is a great loss! The law should serve the common good. It’s the spirit of the law we should pursue not the law itself for its own sake,” Cabajog told Radio Veritas on Thursday.
Retired Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa said the Commission on Appointments’ decision to reject Lopez as environment secretary “unmasks the kind of leaders we have”.
“They betray God and our people because of self interest. And because of the interest of the abusive few, God’s creation and the environment meant for the common good is further exposed to degradation,” he said.
Several diocesan social action directors also rallied behind Lopez and scored how the supposed interests of a few won over the common good.
“It’s clear that selfish
interest won over the interest of the people to be protected. That is how politics run our country,” said Fr. Augustus Calubaquib of the Tuguegarao Archdiocesan Social Action Center.
For Fr. Guillermo Alorro of the Calbayog diocesan Social Action Center, the CA’s decision only proves that “doing good for the people and protecting their basic rights to live a descent life is a misnomer nowadays”.
“It’s unfair for the people especially for the poor who are always victims of mining companies, their lives and livelihood,” said Infanta Prelature Social Action Director Fr. Israel Gabriel.
For his part, Caritas Philippines’ executive secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez said it was expected since some members of the CA have ties to mining firms.
“The decision is expected, given the powerful lobby of the Chamber of Mines and the vested interest of many politicians who wantonly opted to sacrifice the interest of the environment and the poor over their own agenda,” Gariguez said.
The powerful CA on Wednesday rejected the appointment of Lopez as Environment Secretary, who cracked down on mining firms that don’t comply with environmental safety standards.
Lopez earlier ordered the closure of at least 23 mining operations, mostly located in functional watersheds.
The priest earlier said that vested corporate interests would play a big factor in Lopez’s confirmation.
“We need to judge now the CA members and campaign not to reelect those who voted no to environmental reform agenda being pushed by Gina Lopez,” Gariguez said. CBCPNews
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