Back in 2001, when the elite commercial and business district we now know as Rockwell was just rising from the ground, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) took the Lopezes to task for their violations of environmental laws. You see, the place where the Lopez owned district would rise was once a Meralco power plant, which was also once owned by the influential family.
Cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are deadly byproducts of the power plant. And the Lopezes, in their eagerness to provide the richest of the rich an exclusive community, violated many environmental laws just to rid of Rockwell of these hazardous refuse. Their solution? Entomb PCBs in cement and bury it in neighbouring community of San Joaquin. San Joaquin is home to low to middle income residents. And it stands on a major faultline. If struck by an earthquake, PCBs will surely leak out to the soil. In fact, even without an earthquake, PCBs may still leak out as cement is a porous material. PCBs are so toxic, even minute amounts of it can do damage to a person’s health.
Which puts to question Gina Lopez’s qualification as DENR secretary. Given her family’s history, why should we entrust this person to safeguard our environment? Will she hold her family accountable for their disregard of the safety of common folks?