Ex-yoga missionary unleashes rage on PH miners
- Fightback -Mining Inc is fighting back, with a public relations blitz insisting it is a law-abiding industry that generates billions of dollars for the economy and directly supports 1.2 million people. It has appealed to Duterte, who has spoken fiercely against the industry but nevertheless also has many pro-mining figures in his cabinet, to over-rule Lopez. It is also lobbying for a congressional committee to reject her nomination as environment secretary when it conducts a confirmation hearing next month. "This is the first time we have opposed an appointee of the president," Chamber of Mines of the Philippines vice president Ronald Recidoro told AFP. "We've had to because our existence is on the line. If she is confirmed the mining industry is finished, we are done." If Lopez survives as environment secretary and gets to serve her full six-year term, she has much bigger plans for remodelling the Philippine economy -- and she is taking inspiration from the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan. The Buddhist kingdom famously pursues an economic development model of "Gross National Happiness," which aims to balance spiritual and material wealth while taking into account the value of the environment and culture. "I love the Bhutan model," Lopez said.
- 'Path of Bliss' -Lopez has walked an unlikely path to becoming one of the most powerful women in the Philippines. She belongs to one of the wealthiest families in the country. But Lopez exchanged a life of luxury as a young lady for one as a yoga missionary with a spiritual organisation founded in India called Ananda Marga, or Path of Bliss. Lopez spent two decades in Africa, India and Portugal promoting yoga and helping the underprivileged, before returning to the Philippines to raise two children. Back home Lopez earned a reputation as a passionate advocate for the environment, most notably with the charitable arm of her family's ABS-CBN media empire. In his inaugural state of the nation address, Duterte described Lopez as a "crusader." "We share the same paradigm: The interest of the country must come first," he said. Many people overseas have a dark view of Duterte for waging a ruthless war on crime that has claimed thousands of lives. Duterte has said he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts, and Amnesty International has warned he may be overseeing crimes against humanity. Lopez has a different perspective. "He’s genuine. He’s the real thing," she said. "His love of people, his courage, his humility, it’s real. And it's in this dimension that we resonate."