MANILA — The late philantropist and green advocate Gina Lopez would want her supporters to "celebrate her life than mourn it", a member of the public service foundation where she served as long-time chairperson said Monday.
Lopez, a former environment secretary under President Rodrigo Duterte, passed away on Monday due to multiple organ failure. She was 65.
"In Gina's own way, I'm sure she would rather we celebrate her life than mourn it dahil sa napakadami niyang ginawang kabutihan para sa ating mga Kapamilya (because she has done so many good things for our Kapamilya)," said Susan Afan, managing director of the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc.
"Dahil kilala namin s'ya, ayaw niya ng malungkot, gusto niya kumakanta kami. Masaya kami. Nagbibigay kami ng pag-asa and so lahat kami ay nagdadasal. Para sa amin, siya ay isang anghel," she added.
(We know her, she did not want us to be sad, she wanted us to sing, to be happy, and give hope so all of us are praying. For us, she is an angel.)
Gina Lopez became known for her work in rehabilitating the Pasig River and La Mesa Watershed, where she planted some 1 million trees.
"Talagang denuded na iyang lugar na 'yan (La Mesa). Siguro mas grabe pa ang water crisis natin kung hindi pinakialaman ni Gina ang La Mesa," Afan told radio DZMM.
(That area was already denuded. Our water crisis could have been worse if Gina did not interfere with La Mesa.)
Lopez, an advocate for children's rights, also founded the Bantay Bata 163, a helpline devoted to reports of cases of child abuse.
As Cabinet member, she ordered the closure or suspension of 28 mines for violation of environment laws, following an industry-wide audit. She also threatened to cancel 75 contracts for upcoming projects.
"Wala 'yang takot, walang preno 'pag mayroon siyang inisip at alam niyang tama," said Afan.
(She was fearless, unstoppable whenever she thinks of something and she knows it's right.)
Lopez's family is "100 percent supportive" of the projects of the late environmentalist, said Afan.
"Itutuloy lang namin lahat ng kaniyang sinimulan," she added.
(We will continue everything she had started.)
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.