Environmental groups back Gina Lopez's confirmation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Several environmental groups and advocates showed their support for the confirmation of Gina Lopez as Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary before a panel of the Commission on Appointments meets on Tuesday to discuss her fate.

In a press conference in Quezon City Monday, Lopez's supporters urged CA members to confirm her appointment so she could continue the programs and reforms she has started.

Former Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles called on lawmakers to set aside their personal interests to confirm Lopez for the country's sake.

"I appeal to these leaders to be true heroes, sacrificing their personal interests for the sake of the majority. This is a task of every Filipino, a call to greatness," he said.

Former Climate Change Commission commissioner  Naderev Saño said CA members should go beyond Lopez's stand on mining in deciding whether her appointment should be confirmed.

"Hindi lang po tungkol sa pagmimina ang at stake dito. Ang nakataya dito ay ang kabuhayan ng mga tao, ng ating mamamayan," he said.

[Translation: It's not just mining at stake here. The people's livelihood is also at stake.]

Meanwhile, the Alyansa Tigil Mina said in a statement that CA vice chairperson San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora and Valenzuela City Rep. Weslie Gatchalian should inhibit from deliberations because their families have interests in the mining industry.

The group also mentioned the possible conflict of interest in the participation of Senators Panfilo Lacson and Alan Peter Cayetano since they reportedly received campaign donations from Zamora.

The CA committee on environment will hold an executive session at the Senate to discuss Lopez's appointment.

The meeting comes after the panel terminated its public hearings on her appointment last week and deemed her bypassed.

Lopez faced over 20 oppositors affected by the Environment department's decision to close down mines in her re-appointment hearing last Thursday.