It’s a sad day for the Filipinos as news about the death of Gina Lopez takes the internet by storm. Known as an environmentalist and philanthropist, Lopez was a former chairperson of ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary under President Rodrigo Duterte.
Reports indicate that Lopez died due to multiple organ failure on Monday, August 19. After years of battling brain cancer, the country’s Earth warrior has fallen. Although she is gone, she did not only leave good memories, but she left valuable legacies for the Filipinos as a result of her insurmountable efforts.
Filipinos mourn Lopez’s death
Families and well-known personalities expressed their grief for Lopez’s passing. Many went to social media to share their fond memories of the former secretary. Netizens also shared their sorrow for the loss of a kind-hearted person who was the epitome of women empowerment.
Senator Sonny Angara said that Lopez is “one-person green warrior” and that she “did not preach what she did not practice,” ABS-CBN News reported. Meanwhile, Senator Francis Pangilinan remembers Lopez as “a fighter whose legacy will be remembered by many.”
ABS-CBN chairman Mark Lopez said in a press release that they lost a family member whom they admire and respect. He also honored his cousin for her hard work to help abused children and pursue tourism campaigns.
Friends of Lopez also expressed their sadness on social media like ABS-CBN President Charo Santos-Concio, who lauded her as a passionate person putting her heart, mind, and soul to realize her vision.
Accomplishments and legacies
As the secretary of DENR from June 2016 to May 2017, Lopez uncovered the long years of environmental violations of at least 23 mining firms. Despite her achievements, the congressional Commission on Appointments rejected President Duterte’s appointment of Lopez as Environment secretary. Duterte considered this a giant loss to his administration.
As managing director of ABS-CBN Foundation, she led many corporate social responsibility programs. She was also the chairman for the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission which resulted in the cleanup of 17 tributaries of the river.
One of her most significant legacies is Bantay Bata 163, which she founded in 1997 to rescue abused children and protect their rights. Aside from that, she established Bantay Kalisakan to help save the environment.
In 2004, she spearheaded a campaign to save La Mesa watershed, which was later renamed La Mesa Ecopark. As a result of the campaign, the once-neglected area is now filled with trees. She also hosted an ABS-CBN environmental show, “G Diaries” featuring different destinations in the country.
She also pioneered Educational Television (ETV) in the country introducing shows like Science Sineskwela (Science), Math Tinik (Math), Hirayamanawari (Values), Bayani (History) and Epol /Apple (English). Aside from the 15 years airing of ETV, video libraries were also donated to over 10,000 public schools.
Lopez graduated from Assumption College and Newton College of the Sacred Heart in Boston. She also acquired her master’s degree in development management at the Asian Institute of Management.
Lopez is the daughter of ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Eugenio Lopez Jr. and Conchita La’o.
Some people may not have known her, that “some” is referring to the mass of people who are not part of aristocrats. (NOTE: I am not discriminating or mentioning foully for titles here.) Some are not aware of all the greatness she has contributed for the Filipinos. But for us who have eyes wide open and sharp ears in her field of advocacies, how can we not notice the blast of her demure and notable initiatives?
As I am writing this article, I am speaking on behalf of all Filipinas all over the world, that all your deeds will remain on us.
Not just we lost an intelligent woman in our society but also a compassionate mother and friends to others. As I have mentioned, all of her noble accomplishments as an advocate, I still have many more reasons for admiring her that will give you long lists of resplendence adjectives.
Because it takes a lot of courage and discipline manifesting an iconic image for years, being selfless in everything she does, I can’t even imagine how she does everything in a day. Taking significant steps on giving importance to our nature, youth, health and wellness, and last and foremost, empowering her fellow women to do the same.
I hope her lost will give us fortitude and bravery to speak with our minds and stand in our words and actions. She portrays the best value of what is the role of women in society should be – boundless and versatile. I hope her influence will live in every women’s naive mind and soul, as she goes by her journey to eternity, she may guide us on to – if not becoming – following the footsteps she has marked, continuing the legacy she has bestowed upon the whole nation.