Gina Lopez happy with Cimatu appointment, hopes he can work with her, NPA, and IPs

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  • Erstwhile environment secretary happy with replacement
  • She is hoping he is open to working with her, communist rebels, and indigenous peoples
  • She also told critics to give him a chance to prove his worth

MANILA, Philippines  –  Former environment secretary Gina Lopez welcomed the appointment of retired general Roy Cimatu as her replacement and said she is looking forward to working with him.

“I welcome the appointment and I look forward to working with him in the sphere of development and he can bring certain abilities to the DENR and we can all work together,” ABS-CBN quoted her saying.

Lopez, who expressed her willingness to work with communist guerillas and other groups, added that she hopes Cimatu — a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines — would have the same open mindset.

“It is my hope that even though he came from the military, he will be open enough to work with the NPA and I hope he will have the heart to work with the indigenous people,” she said.

As for Cimatu’s critics, Lopez urge them to give him a chance to prove his worth in the department.

“We will give him a chance. After all, siya ang na-appoint ng president [he was appointed by the president],” she said. “I told the president siya na lang maging DENR secretary kasi matapang [he should be DENR secretary because he’s brave] but he appointed a 4-star general.”

For its part, the Chamber of Mines said it welcomed Cimatu’s appointment with “cautious optimism”.

“The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines welcomes with cautious optimism the appointment of former AFP Chief of Staff Roy Cimatu as secretary of Environment and Natural Resources,” the group said.