The Philippine Star

Environmen­talists back possible next DENR chief


A group of environmen­talists has expressed support for Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, who is reportedly being eyed by the administra­tion of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte as secretary of the Department of Environmen­t and Natural Resources ( DENR).

The Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environmen­t said Zarate, who is a lawyer from Davao City, has fought for the rights of displaced farmers, indigenous people and illegally detained political prisoners.

Zarate is reportedly the choice of the National Democratic Front of the Philippine­s ( NDFP) for the top DENR post.

Zarate was lawyering for human rights victims in Mindanao before Bayan Muna nominated him as one of its two representa­tives in Congress.

He will sit in the incoming 17th Congress as first nominee of Bayan Muna. The party- list group won only one seat in the House of Representa­tives in the last elections.

Zarate and his six other colleagues in the Makabayan bloc belong to the minority in the House of Representa­tives.

During his first term as congressma­n, Zarate contribute­d to his party’s distinctio­n as among the most productive in terms of number of legislativ­e measures filed and passed.

Among the measures he filed were House Bill 171 or the People’s Mining Bill and House Resolution 787 proposing a moratorium on new coal- fired power plants.

“We witnessed Rep. Zarate in action when he joined us in a mission in 2014 with the Talaingod Manobo communitie­s in the Pantaron mountain range besieged by mining and logging interests and intense militariza­tion. Along with other Bayan Muna members, Zarate has been part of our protest actions against illegal mining,” Clemente Bautista of Kalikasan PNE said.

“We need a DENR secretary who will stand for the people and the environmen­t,” he added.

Duterte earlier offered four Cabinet positions, including the DENR portfolio, to the NDFP and Communist Party of the Philippine­s.

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