'Green warrior': Senators hail environmentalist Gina Lopez

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2019 01:15 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2019 02:58 PM

Former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez is seen in this May 10, 2017 photo. Lopez passed away on Monday, Aug. 19, due to multiple organ failure. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- (UPDATE) Senators paid tribute to the late environmentalist and philanthropist Gina Lopez who died Monday due to multiple organ failure.

Lopez, the long-time chairperson of ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) and President Rodrigo Duterte's former environment secretary, passed away at the age of 65.

Senator Sonny Angara honored Lopez as a "one-person green warrior," saying the staunch eco-warrior left the public with a "bucket list to comply with and follow."

"Gina did not preach what she did not practice. She was not a Powerpoint crusader but a living example of how to live a life that will not bankrupt earth’s resources to support us," Angara said in a statement.

"She was a one-person green warrior who took the fight to where it matters – in boardrooms, chatrooms, government offices, and in her favorite office – out in the open, under a forest canopy or underwater, where she was in her element with people she loved in a country she never gave up hope on," he said.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto dubbed Lopez as the "great secretary of defense of our natural resources" for being a "lifelong warrior for Mother Earth."

"She may not have left behind a library of writings to read, but the way she made the best out of each challenge life had thrown at her was a good instruction manual on how to have one that is fully lived," Recto said in a statement.

Senators Nancy Binay and Leila de Lima thanked Lopez for her service to the government, noting her determination.

"A staunch defender of the environment, she was steadfast in her beliefs and inspired us all through her passion for the environment," Binay said.

"Maraming salamat former DENR Secretary, Gina Lopez. 🙏," De Lima said in a tweet.

For Senators Bong Go, Richard Gordon, and Grace Poe, the late philanthropist will always be remembered for her passion.

"She was a fearless advocate and a tireless philanthropist, dedicating most of her life for the betterment of her fellow Filipinos. Her exceptional dedication in protecting our environment has no equal today," Go said.

"She was a staunch advocate of significant and meaningful causes for the country. She stood her ground firmly on issues she felt needed to be addressed," Gordon said.

"Sec. Gina Lopez came in our midst and taught us love for mankind and the environment, our common home. Thank you for touching our lives in your impassioned way," Poe said.

Minority Senator Risa Hontiveros meanwhile noted how "Gina fought with everything she had against big polluters" while Senator Francis Pangilinan recalled how it was a privilege to have someone like Lopez as an eco-warrior in public office.

"She’ll always be remembered that way: as a fighter whose legacy will be remembered by many," she said.

"Rest well and rest in peace, Gina. You did well in helping transform thousands of lives and it was a privilege to have worked alongside you in helping change our world," Pangilinan said.

Senators Bong Revilla and Joel Villanueva, on the other hand, extended prayers to the Lopez family.

"Tinitingalang earth warrior, philanthropist at cultural advocate, malaking kawalan siya sa ating bansa. Maraming salamat sa paglalaan ng iyong buhay upang pangalagaan ang kalikasan at kapakanan ng bawat Pilipino!" Revilla said.

(A notable earth warrior, philanthropist, and cultural advocate, she is a great loss for our country. Thank you for dedicating your life to our environment and the well-being of Filipinos.)

"Indeed to live in Christ and to die is gain. Rest in Peace Ms Gina Lopez 🙏 Prayers for your family and loved ones. God bless!" Villlanueva said in a tweet.

In lieu of flowers and mass cards, the family requests that donations be made to the ABS-CBN Foundation. There will be a public viewing at the La Mesa Eco Park on Aug. 22 to 23.