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Gina Lopez is Good for the Environment but Existing Laws Must be Amended First before Implementation

Gina Lopez

welcome By: Elena Grace Flores

Gina Lopez’s passion is what the country needs to preserve the environment – but first thing’s first. Existing laws need to be amended or installed to support her actions. Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato reminds presidential appointees, to ensure that “they know the laws which they swore to uphold and enforce by heart.” The CA committee on environment terminates its public hearing on Lopez’s appointment and deems her bypassed for her unavailability for the supposed next hearing. The president swears his support to Lopez but he has not mentioned her re-appointment yet.

Youtube video by; PhNews Review
[VIDEO]: Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Tuesday appealed to members of the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) to make a decision for the “common good and not a business.”

The Law is the Law

The passion of Gina Lopez on environmental protection is admirable, but the law is the law.  There are flaws in the law but so far, that is the law.  Lawmakers need to hear from her what needs to be done. They can then file a bill in the House of Representatives to make that happen, as suggested by Sato. Things have to be done following the existing law. Any gaps in them must be dealt with through amendments or enactment of another law. The law is already there. Congress must do the necessary revisions first before she can implement them. Hopefully with the help of Gina Lopez.

Ideal but Unlawful Moves

Lopez orders the closure of 23 mines and canceled 75 mineral production sharing agreements which are highly disputed by investors – for destroying watershed areas. She said all open-pit mining operations in the country are done in watersheds. But Sato argues that Lopez’s definition of the watershed is not clearly stated in the law.

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Revised Forestry Code Not Lawful

The Revised Forestry Code defines a watershed as a “land area drained by a stream or fixed body of water and its tributaries that have a common outlet for surface runoff.” The DENR’s River Basin Control Office lists 142 “critical watersheds” nationwide. They are defined as drainage area of a river system which supports current and proposed hydro-electric power, irrigation works or domestic water facilities that need immediate protection or rehabilitation.

The President’s Support

The President reiterates his support to Lopez’s anti-mining stance. He said that the country “can live without” billions in profit from the mining industry. PDu30 said that he can get the 70 billion from somewhere else and preserve the environment by stopping mining if necessary. Perhaps, Senator Manny Pacquiao is right that Lopez’s decision making stints need some balance. Lopez is overwhelmed with the president’s remarks in her favor – but will he re-appoint her?

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