If there is someone who lived up with ABS-CBN's motto "In the Service of the Filipino," it's probably Gina Lopez.
Born on December 27, 1953, Regina Paz Lopez was the second among the seven children of media mogul and late ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Eugenio Lopez Jr. and his wife Conchita La'O Lopez.
Despite being a part of a prominent family, Gina always had a heart for people who are in need. Her urge to help individuals led her to be a missionary in different countries, including India, Portugal, and different African countries where she experienced the toughest conditions, includuning living in a slum area where she learned the value of conserving resources.
After two decades of being a missionary, she returned to the country to head ABS-CBN Foundation, the network's public service arm, founded and initiated in 1989.
With the organization under her helm, several programs for environmental protection and children's welfare were launched.
In 1997, she started Bantay Bata 163, a program which seeks to protect children from abuse. Since its inception, the cause has received numerous accolades from different award-giving bodies worldwide.
She has partnered with the Department of Education to produce several educational programs.
Gina also initiated Bantay Kalikasan. Through her efforts, the 2,700-hectare La Mesa Watershed was rehabilitated, and the La Mesa Eco-Park was developed.
She was also appointed as the head of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission in 2010. She spearheaded several projects for the conservation of the river.
One of Gina's biggest projects was her No to Mining in Palawan campaign. In just a few years, she was able to gather almost 10 million signatures, showing support to stop the destruction of mining firms in the island province.
Gina was also given the chance by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2016. Although she only served the agency for a year, her efforts led to the forced closure of mining areas all over the country.
For the past years, she continued to busy herself with her advocacies. She established the Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies (iLOVE) Foundation, and even hosted and co-prouced her own show "G Diaries," where she visited areas in the country and promoted sustainable ways of living, together with several Kapamilya artists, such as Iñigo Pascual, Maris Racal, Ronnie Alonte, Loisa Andalio, and a lot more.
On August 19, 2019, sad news came when ABS-CBN announced the passing of Gina through a statement.
Tributes from people have since poured in, making #GinaLopez and #MaramingSalamatGinaLopez trend online.
Among the celebrities who gave their final respects to the late environmentalist and philanthropist were Charo Santos-Concio, Angel Locsin, Erwan Heusaff, Onyok Pineda, Dyan Castillejo, Ces Drilon, Gretchen Ho, and a lot more.
Farewell, Gina Lopez. You will forever remain in our hearts!
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