On August 18, 2019, the country bid a peaceful farewell to one of its pinnacle figures in public service. Gina Lopez was a committed environmentalist and philanthropist. She dedicated her professional life for the betterment of the nation’s people and natural resources. From Bantay Bata and other social welfare projects through the ABS-CBN Foundation to her environmental work on Pasig River and the La Mesa Watershed, we honor Gina Lopez by highlighting the work she has done for the Filipino people – work that will live on and inspire others to do the same.
She was popularly known for serving as the Secretary for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2016. During her brief post, Lopez implemented many radical projects such as the purging of illegal mining operations in Semirara island, Surigao del Sur, and other areas. These purges were met with a lot of criticism by the Commission on Appointments which led to her early release from the role. Though even before her Cabinet stint, she was already well involved in environmentalist ventures. She founded Bantay Kalikasan which sought the preservation and restoration of the La Mesa Watershed, Metro Manila’s only major watershed, and the rehabilitation of Pasig river. These efforts led to her being the Chairman of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission in 2010. Lopez was also an advocate for the care of indigenous people, being the first DENR secretary to engage in forums with these communities for proper protection of their land and resources.
“I feel that the way for the country to move forward is through love and care for the other.”– Gina Lopez, 2017
Social Welfare Initiatives
Aside from her environmentalism, Lopez was also an active force in social welfare and activism. As the Managing Director the ABS-CBN Foundation, she established Bantay Bata 163 in 1997. It is a social welfare program that provided aid for abused and abandoned children through quick hotline service. She also served as the Vice-Chairperson to the ABS-CBN Bayan Foundation which provided microfinancing to small local enterprises. These and many other civic programs and charities were executed through the ABS-CBN Foundation during her tenure.
A Beacon for Philippine Activism
Through many of her projects and initiatives, Lopez pushed for responsible use and care for the country’s land and waterways as well as social welfare programs for the struggling youth in society. Though we mourn today of the loss of such a remarkable woman, her legacy lives on with the work that continues in her honor.
Those who wish to donate to the ABS-CBN Foundation, which manages Bantay Bata, Operation Sagip, and other welfare projects, can do so here.
Photos from Gina Lopez’ Instagram