The Ilocos Network for the Environment (Defend Ilocos) today expressed its support for BAYAN MUNA Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate to head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). This came a day after online media and national broad sheets reported that Rep. Zarate is among the individuals to be nominated by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for the post.
“Defend Ilocos strongly supports the nomination of Cong. Zarate for DENR Secretary,” said Sherwin De Vera, the groups Regional Coordinator.
The NDFP’s shortlist is the group’s response to the offer of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte to the Communist Party of the Philippines to take lead of four government agencies that include DENR.
He added that Zarate’s track record of being critical to mining, logging, coal-powered plants speaks well of his concern for environment. De Vera also took note of Zarate’s long experience as a human rights lawyer.
“He is an ardent defender of human rights, among the clients he defended in court are environmental activists and indigenous peoples accused by the military of being members of New Peoples Army,” explains De Vera. He further narrated that the Davao-based legislator was the co-author of the House Resolution that called for the investigation of members of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency who were responsible for harassing him in 2014.
De Vera also said that Zarate pursued the conduct of Congressional Inquiry regarding the proliferation of blacksand mining operations in Northern Luzon and co-author of the People’s Mining Bill.#