The President has nominated Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga as the secretary of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Palace said Tuesday.
But Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said her nomination as DENR chief “will still be subject to the fulfillment of the required documents.”
In a statement, Masungi Georeserve said it supports Yulo-Loyzaga’s nomination given her background in disaster resilience and environment studies.
“We recognize her invaluable leadership as a former Executive Director of the Manila Observatory (MO). After typhoon Ondoy, the MO led the scientific studies which proved the impacts of the Upper Marikina Watershed’s deforestation to increased flood risk in towns and cities,” the organization said.
“The science is clear: restore the watershed to protect the people. We are hopeful that the new Secretary will share our vision and those of many others, to make Masungi and the Upper Marikina Watershed free from quarry interests and other intrusive developments,” Masungi added.
Before her appointment, Yulo-Loyzaga was chairperson of the International Advisory Board of the Manila Observatory, where she advocated more scientific research on climate and disaster resilience.
Yulo-Loyzaga was also the Manila Observatory’s executive director and technical adviser of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation. She is also on the Senior Advisory Board of the AFP’s Command and General Staff College.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla on Tuesday said the Department of Justice will inquire into the legal issues surrounding the possible appointment of Raphael Perpetuo Lotilla as the next secretary of Energy.
Remulla made the statement when asked if there will be legal obstacles to Lotilla’s appointment, considering his position as the independent director of Aboitiz Power and Exenor.
Remulla said they would have to study the Philippine Competition Commission rules and the DOE law of 1992.
Cruz-Angeles Lotilla’s appointment would depend on clarification of his employment status as an independent director.
She cited Section 8 of RA 7638 or the Act Creating the Department of Energy which provides, “No officer, external auditor, accountant, or legal counsel of any private company or enterprise primarily engaged in the energy industry shall be eligible for appointment as Secretary within two (2) years from his retirement, resignation, or separation therefrom.”
Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said the issue will be discussed internally for now.
Lotilla first served as Energy secretary from 2005 to 2007 during the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said he believed Lotilla should be allowed to sit as the next DOE chief, because the law prohibits an officer from an energy company–which can be viewed as someone with direct management responsibilities—from being appointed.
He noted Lotilla did not have any direct management responsibilities in the companies mentioned.
The chairman of the House of Representatives committee on ways and means, meanwhile, welcomed Lotilla’s appointment.
Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda of Albay, the panel’s chairperson, said that Lotilla “is among the strongest appointments” that President Marcos has made, and “quite likely the best appointment he could have made for DOE.”
He recalled that he worked closely with Lotilla during the Arroyo administration, and said that thanks to Lotilla, the power sector “is no longer the financial wreck that decades of neglect turned it into.”