Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) on Monday condemned the appointment of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Roy Cimatu as Environment Secretary, fearing that it will erode whatever reforms and gains former Secretary Gina Lopez has achieved at the DENR.
“We find the appointment of Cimatu as DENR chief a huge step back and a portent of increased large-scale mining aggression going hand in hand with intensified militarization. Let us not forget that Cimatu was at the helm of the armed forces when extrajudicial killings started to spike under the Arroyo administration,” said Rep. Emmi de Jesus.
“A military man heading the DENR is a nightmare for women and indigenous groups who have been displaced by military encroachments into their land to pave the way for big mining firms,” she added.
The feisty lady solon pointed out that Cimatu’s record is marred by gross human rights violations and corruption.
Gabriela recalled for instance that its week-long service mission in Mindoro in June 2002 was cut short after the team was harassed and intimidated by the 204th Brigade of the Philippine Army. Cimatu was the AFP chief during that time.
The group also noted that the Department of Justice has recommended the filing of plunder charges against Cimatu and another AFP chief of staff for the misspent P2.3-billion military fund.
“We are extremely disappointed by President Duterte’s choice of Lopez’ replacement at the DENR. This is a sad day for advocates of the environment and human rights,” De Jesus said. #