DENR chief lauds Duterte, Senate on Paris climate pact approval

DENR Secretary Gina Lopez expressed elation at the Senate’s unanimous concurrence to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on Tuesday, days after President Rodrigo Duterte ratified the landmark global environment pact.

“I’m very happy. This is a great victory for the planet. President Duterte set the stage for the Senate’s concurrence to the Paris Agreement," said Lopez, who had earlier thanked the President for supporting her confirmation.

According to Lopez, the President's recent statements regarding the need to strictly regulate mining and the ratification of the Agreement show the President "deeply cares for the country."

"This joint executive and legislative effort shows our unwavering commitment to protect the environment on a global scale,” said Lopez.

The Paris Agreement calls for the reduction of carbon emissions, which have been linked to the occurrence of natural disasters and extreme weather phenomena such as the supertyphoons that have struck the country in recent years.

Twenty-two senators unanimously approved Senate Resolution No. 320 on the climate pact. The President signed the Agreement last February 28.

The DENR chief also made special mention of Senate Environment Committee Chair Sen. Loren Legarda, who the Secretary characterized as a tireless advocate and champion of the environment.

“The nation is thankful to Senator Legarda for her decades-long crusade to popularize and elevate environmental issues," Lopez said. ### 

Lopez hailed as “Woman of Courage’

In time for the Women’s Month celebration, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez was hailed “Woman of Courage” by the country’s alliance of Filipino women –GABRIELA.

At the same time, the group, which advocates for women’s issues, also expressed their strong support for the confirmation of Lopez as environment chief by the bicameral Commission of Appointments.

Gabriela officers and members gave Lopez a surprise visit in her residence on Friday, March 10, to confer her the recognition.

In its press statement, GABRIELA has named her “Woman of Courage” for her “demonstrated daring to stand up for the general welfare of women, indigenous peoples (IPs) and the Filipino nation vis-à-vis the encroaching interests of commercial despoilers of the environment.”

GABRIELA also said it has bestowed Lopez the recognition for defending the remaining natural resources and putting first the welfare of succeeding generations “before the short-term gains of wealthy business monopolies”.

The women’s group also cited the DENR chief for keeping her position “without fear of personal loss, keeping in mind the correctness of declaring our mineral and timber wealth for the sole benefit of Filipinos” and for defending the rights of indigenous peoples.

For her part, Lopez expressed gratitude to Gabriela and underscored the “priceless role of women in the environment and the society as a whole.” ### 

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