Environment crusader Gina Lopez approves of Pres. Duterte’s hardline approach to Boracay
Gina and her quest for love
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2018 - 12:00am

Gina Lopez, a staunch supporter of the environment and social development, knows that anyone can play a part in making lives better for other people. She believes that we do not need a lot of money to get people out of poverty; we just need to help each other.

But there are things that also matter in the issue of poverty apart from money. The show of concern and love for others is essential in making people feel that they are not being left out. As an environmentalist, Gina’s endeavors have been known to the public through G-Diaries where several Kapamilya young stars tag along with her in helping promote worthwhile causes for the country and the environment.

The former environment secretary never gets tired of finding ways to help generate income for the community through the beauty of our country. Thus, it is not a far-fetched idea for her to come up with a contest for community development called Quest for Love. The competition will start with 16 groups that will be selected based on their track record, quality of leaders and the impact of their business plan for their partner communities.   

“It’s called Quest for Love because I started this organization called ILOVE which stands for Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies that can build up village economies,” explained Gina when she appeared in Tonight with Boy Abunda a few nights back. “So, I’m in a quest for these loving organizations.”

These so-called loving organizations must possess integrity, capability and leadership skills to be able to build up village economy. These can be people’s organizations, NGOs, social enterprises because they have the awareness which is important. Gina said that even if you have a lot of money but lacking in expertise then the community won’t come up. “You need a good intermediary that’s a loving organization.”

She continued, “In Quest for Love, the focus is on farmers, fishermen and indigenous people and conflict areas. The final 16 will be given a free Masters of Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo (de Manila University). The Ateneo Class of ’68, the Ateneo Graduate School of Business and the Ateneo Masters of Entrepreneurship program pulled their resources together and they are giving a free Masters of Entrepreneurship for the Final 16 and the Final 8 will undergo a mentoring under the guidance of ILOVE’s pool of mentors. It’s like The Voice where contestants have a mentor and that will all be seen on G-Diaries twice a week on ANC and twice a week on Lifestyle.”

It’s good to know that ABS-CBN president Carlo Katigbak had proposed for G-Diaries to also go daily on the Kapamilya digital platform so that netizens can also see how the show is able to help improve communities that are potential tourist spots.

Going back to the competition, the Final 8 will be chosen through a Love Vote in February next year. “The whole country will decide on the best loving organization among the eight finalists. The Final 8 will get P5M worth of government assistance so this is a project in partnership with several government agencies. Then, the winner will receive P10M worth of assistance from the government and private partners,” said Gina. The prize will be used by the winner to bring its proposed project for its chosen community to happen.

What pushes Gina to come up with all these ideas is her goal of seeing the country free from poverty. “Dapat walang mahirap dito kasi we have so much,” Gina stressed. “Look at Singapore which is smaller than Quezon City, smaller than Subic. It is a barren land and its people couldn’t grow their own food. They couldn’t drink their own water, then Lee Kuan Yew invested. And now, how many tourists they have in a year — 60 million, my God! And we, who have mountains, seas, rivers, streams, volcanoes and everything, only have five million tourists. So, we need to invest in our islands.”  

Speaking of islands, the government’s directive on closing Boracay for six months was among the national issues recently. Asked about her stand on the subject, Gina responded, “I’m totally in favor of (Pres.) Duterte coming down strong because what happened sa ginawa n’ya, the impact of Duterte’s decision has extended far beyond into the consciousness of the people na masyadong importante ang kalikasan.”

Her continuous effort in protecting Mother Nature and relentless move in community development are nonetheless admirable but Gina, even in her past interviews, said that she has no plans of running for senator.

“I’m not bagay for lawmaking. This is what makes me happy. I’m using the media to make things happen on the ground and engaging people.”

Meanwhile, Gina willingly revealed five things the public do not know much about her in 5 in 45.

• I had cancer last year and I cured myself in six to eight months.

• I use red shades (which she brought during the interview) for radiation. It’s called through dark.

• I have this (dark glasses) to sleep well. I call it Batman and if you use it for two hours before you sleep, you’ll sleep really well because it blocks blue light that activates the brain.

• I like to play hide and seek.

• I like to sing and dance but I don’t sing and dance well.

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