Strong opposition to DENR chief at CA

http://www.journal.com.ph/news/top-stories/strong-opposition-to-denr-chief-at-ca

ENVIRONMENT Secretary Gina Lopez is set to face today the powerful bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) which will tackle her designation to head the agency amid strong opposition from some sectors affected by her decision to shut down 23 mining sites nationwide.

Lopez will defend her designation as head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at 10 a.m. before the CA’s Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, chaired by Sen. Manny Pacquiao.

The following individuals and groups had earlier filed their respective sworn opposition to her appointment: Rodolfo “RJ” Javellana, Jr., and Manuel Galvez; Marion Karlo Cruz, et al.; Artemio Disini, Nelia Halcon, and Ronald Recidoro; Dr. Carlo Arcilla; John Paulo Chanco; Ralph Lauren Abainza; Krist Jan Niño Jimenez Separa; Jon Michael Mendoza; Lysander Castillo; Bong Folung Dalena Samling, et al; Danilo Baysa Calimlim; Johann Joseph Sahagun; Carmelito Galing et al.; Datu Engwan Ala, et al; Rosalinda Montanez; Alma Dioreda; Clarence Pimentel, Jr., et al; George Ram Ramos; Jose Roderick Fernando; Jay Mark Ebanculla; Dulmar Raagas; Jesspaul Ecleo; and Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Surigao del Norte.

Those who filed opposition to Lopez’s closure order of mining operations were: Andres Estella; Vicente Ecora; Joseph Bautista; Nilo Angeles; Domingo Maquio, et al.; Fe Silot, et al.; Andres Panayo; Rolando Rimban, et al.; John Michael Madarang; Noel Bilibli, et al.; and Gilbert Sibayan, et al. Six Manobo tribal chieftains in Surigao del Sur, whose fellow tribesmen were affected by the closure of mines in their area, last February 20 appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to allow mining operation in their area.

The tribal leaders filed a complaint before the CA to oppose Lopez’s confirmation to lead the DENR because they believe that she is biased against mining.

Datu Engwan Ala, Datu Ryan Huniog, both from Carrascal town; Datu Benjamin Adjawon, Datu Escobal Angeles, and Datu Felipe Antad, of Cantilan town; and Datu Benjamin Tindogan have objected to Lopez’s designation as head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Asked whether they have an appeal to the President, Tindogan said:“Sa kasalukuyan ay gumagawa kami  ng hakbang para i-apela kay Presidente na tulungan ang mga katutubo duon sa Surigao del Sur para makapagpatuloy ang pagmimina para sa kapakanan ng mga katutubo dun sa Surigao del Sur.”

“Ang grupo po ng mga tribal leaders ay kusa pumunta rito para iparating ang aming hinaing tungkol sa kompirmasyon ng secretary ng DENR dahil ang desiyon na ipasara ang mga minahan sa Surigao del Sur ay nagdudulot ng hirap at kawalan ng hanapbuhay ng mga Manobo tribe duon,” said Tindogan.

“Si Lopez ay may pagkiling laban sa pagmimina. Kung kaya ang adbokasiya ni  Lopez na mahigpit na tumututol sa pagmimina ay siyang nagbibigay ng kalituhan sa kanyang papel bilang patas na tagapagtanggol ng batas sa DENR,” they said.

They are worried that the closure of mines in their area would push some of the affected indigenous people (IP) to commit crimes in order to earn money. “Sa sandaling magsara ang mga minahan, babalik sa dating hirap na pamumuhay ang mga katutubo,” they said in their three-page complaint.

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