Lopez's confirmation has faced stiff opposition from mining operators who questioned the DENR's cancellation of 23 mining concessions due to violations of environmental laws.

Valdez emphasized that the matter of the environment crosses political lines, religious affiliations, age, gender, economic condition, and is an issue that affects every Filipino.

"We're not just talking about current individual issues on mines, watershed protection, illegal logging or the dismantling of illegal fishpens. The more crucial and overarching concern is protecting an environment that can sustain us at present, and which our children and generations of Filipinos yet unborn can still enjoy in the future."

Environment groups have expressed support for Lopez's appointment and have sided with the Secretary in her row with pro-mining interests.

These groups cite mining industry statistics showing that the gross value added in mining averaged about 0.65 percent of GDP for 2012-2016. Metallic and non-metallic exports, for instance, account for only 5% of total exports.

"The forests, mountains, rivers, flora and fauna that we lose now due to failure to enforce our environmental laws in exchange for short-term economic gains cannot be replaced anymore. They are lost forever. I'm sure our lawmakers don't want that. The CA vote is nothing less than a once in a lifetime opportunity for our Senators and Congressmen to affirm their stand on the environment." Valdez clarified. ###

DENR press releases and other news/feature articles are posted at the DENR website: www.denr.gov.ph. For queries/comments, write: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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