Philanthropist and environmentalist Gina Lopez succumbed to multiple organ failure at 4:15 a.m. on Monday. She was 65.
“The whole ABS-CBN family profoundly mourns the passing of Regina Paz ‘Gina’ Lopez, chairman of ABS-CBN Foundation,” the network’s official statement said.
“With Gina’s passing, we lost a fervent advocate of children’s rights and protection, a passionate proponent of sustainable livelihood among the underprivileged, and an unswerving champion for environment preservation.”
“While we mourn with Gina’s family and loved ones, we also pray that her legacy continues to live on in the heart of every Kapamilya she had touched in her lifetime,” ABS-CBN said in a statement.
Lopez took on the post of Environment Secretary in 2016 but her term was cut short after the Commission on Appointments rejected her appointment in 2017.
READ: Gina unfit for DENR job—solon
At least 12 of the oppositions filed with the CA against her were about the closure and suspension of mining operations.
She was succeeded by former Armed Forces chief Roy Cimatu.
Lawmakers on Monday mourned her passing.
Party-List Representative Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat of Bayan Muna expressed condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of the late environmental activist.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto described Lopez as a “great secretary of defense of our natural resources.
“Gina was not a debutante infatuated with green causes to which she had a passing fancy. She was a lifelong warrior for Mother Earth,” Recto said.
Senator Grace Poe said Lopez “came in our midst and taught us love for mankind and the environment, our common home.”
Senator Richard Gordon described Lopez as a staunch advocate of significant and meaningful causes for the country. He said Lopez stood her ground firmly on the issues she felt needed to be addressed.
Senator Francis Pangilinan said Lopez was a woman of courage.
Senator Bong Go said he had the honor of working with Lopez when she was the environment secretary of the Duterte Administration.
ABS-CBN, the family-owned company, said Lopez’s tireless commitment to her advocacies gave birth to Bantay Bata 163, Bantay Kalikasan and other programs under the ABS-CBN Foundation.
Lopez pushed for many campaigns and projects, including Kapit Bisig Para sa Ilog, No-to-Mining in Palawan, the La Mesa watershed reforestation, and the “G Diaries” weekly television program before serving as Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission chairman and Department of Environment and Natural Resources chief in 2016.
“Gina was the pillar of strength that pushed AFI to achieve what seemed to be impossible. Her caring heart and selfless kind of love inspired people within and beyond the organization to help and serve others,” the ABS-CBN family said.
“While we mourn with Gina’s family and loved ones, we also pray that her legacy continues to live on in the heart of every Kapamilya she had touched in her lifetime.”
Lopez organized Bantay Kalikasan that received the International Public Relations Award of Excellence for the Environment in 1997 and Outstanding Manilans Award for the Environment in 2009.
She was given the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Award, the first Southeast Asian to receive the distinction for producing educational TV programs.
“We will never forget her and will continue to honor her remarkable contributions not only to ABS-CBN but to the entire nation,” the network said.
“Thank you, Gina, for showing us how it is to live in the service of the Filipino.”
Lopez was the sister of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Gabby Lopez and daughter of “Kapitan” Eugenio Lopez Jr.
The Lopez family requests that donations be made to the foundation in lieu of flowers and Mass cards. With MJ Blancaflor, Maricel V. Cruz and Macon Ramos-AranetaREAD: Fake news alive, Lopez not dead
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