ENVIRONMENT and Natural Resources secretary Regina Paz Lopez’s rejection by the Commission on Appointments (CA) diminished the prospects of negotiated reforms for a just and lasting peace, National Democratic Front of the Philippines chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said.
Reacting to CA’s 15-9 vote against Lopez’s confirmation today, Sison said “reactionaries in Congress cast a dismal shadow on the prospects of legislation that is needed to enable the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) to fulfill its obligations under the CASER (Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms) now being negotiated,” Sison said.
Despite widespread support of Lopez’s anti-destructive mining crusade, the 25-member commission rejected with finality one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s most popular cabinet appointments.
“The people are left with no choice but to fight even more fiercely against the big compradors, landlords and the corrupt politicians,” Sison said, blaming “reactionaries” in the Duterte government for Lopez’s rejection.
Progressives also expressed dismay at the development, calling it a victory for mining oligarchs.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said an extraordinary chance to protect the environment and the rights of the people has been squandered.
“Bureaucrat capitalism and vested interests triumph once again in the rejection of the appointment of Gina Lopez,” Reyes said.
Reyes said compromises may have been made along the way and questioned how such a rejection can happen under the Duterte regime that wields the majority in both houses of Congress.
“Big business interests continue to hold sway in the Duterte regime, both in the executive and legislative branches,” he said.
Reyes encouraged Lopez to continue her environmental advocacy even as a private citizen once more.
“We thank Gina for her outstanding service to the Filipino people. She is more than welcome to continue her activist role for the environment, in the mass movement and even in the peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP,” Reyes said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)