Ex-AFP chief Cimatu appointed as acting Environment Secretary

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 8) — Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Roy Cimatu replaces Gina Lopez as acting Environment Secretary, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed Monday.

President Duterte appointed Cimatu as special envoy to the OFW refugees in April. He joined the state visits to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar last month.

Cimatu was AFP chief in 2002.

After the Commission on Appointments rejected her appointment as Environment secretary last Wednesday, Gina Lopez told a media briefing President Duterte should head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"He's the only one that has the guts...It needs guts, it needs tapang [courage] because you have to step on business interest," Lopez said.

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines welcomed Cimatu's appointment in a statement.

"His sterling record in government service speaks well of Gen. Cimatu and we hope that his appointment finally answers our long-held call for a DENR secretary who has a balanced appreciation for environmental protection and natural resources management," it said.

The Chamber added it is committed to working with Cimatu and the Duterte administration to promote responsible mining and to enforce the country's environmental and natural resource laws.

The Chamber of Mines decried former Environment Secretary Lopez's re-appointment, saying that she is not competent for the job after cancelling 75 mining contracts in February.

This story was updated on May 8, 5:25 p.m. to include the statement from the Chamber of Mines.