President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed Cimatu's appointment.

"We are confident that Secretary Cimatu shall faithfully serve the interest of the country and the Filipino people in his capacity as the new DENR Secretary," Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella, however, clarified that Cimatu's appointment is still subject to Congress' aproval.

"He is still 'acting' because Congress is still in session; and to facilitate his being able to act immediately. He is still subject to confirmation," Abella said.

Lawmakers last Wednesday rejected the appointment of Lopez, who cracked down on alleged unsafe mining practices during her 10 months in office.

In a Facebook post, Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol said President Rodrigo Duterte introduced Cimatu as new Environment chief. 

"'Let us put an end to all speculations," Pres. Rody Duterte said as he announced the appointment of former Army General and Ambassdor Roy Cimatu as the new Environment Secretary," Pinol said in his post. 

Lopez previously said only Duterte can replace her as DENR chief because the post needed bravery.

“My choice for DENR secretary is President Duterte… I can’t think of any other person. It needs guts. It needs tapang (bravery) because you have to step on business interest,” Lopez told reporters.

During his visit to the Middle East, Duterte told the Filipino community in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that he was talking to Cimatu about a Cabinet post.

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Owing to unrelenting intelligence and forest protection efforts, CENRO Dolores through CENR Officer Roseller E. Cay, was able to seize six (6) undocumented chainsaws purportedly being used in illegal cutting of forest products. These are currently deposited at PENRO Eastern Samar for safekeeping pending final disposition.

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