Former Environment Secretary and ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) chairperson Gina Lopez has passed away.
ABS-CBN Network announced the sad news Monday, August 19, citing multiple organ failure as her cause of death. The well-known philanthropist and environmentalist was 65.
"Gina was the pillar of strength that pushed AFI to achieve what seemed to be impossible. Her caring heart and selfless kind of love inspired people within and beyond the organization to help and serve others," ABS-CBN said in an official statement.
"While we mourn with Gina’s family and loved ones, we also pray that her legacy continues to live on in the heart of every Kapamilya she had touched in her lifetime. We will never forget her and will continue to honor her remarkable contributions not only to ABS-CBN, but the entire nation."
ABS-CBN chairman Mark Lopez, who is a cousin of Gina, also paid tribute to the child welfare and environmental advocate for her unparalleled contribution to the country.
Gina is known for her work in serving young victims of abuse and championing environmental issues by rehabilitating the Pasig River and La Mesa Watershed, shutting down illegal mining operations, helping communities by turning them into eco-tourism sites, among others.
He said in a statement: "At an age when people are just figuring out what they want to do in life, she already knew her purpose. She left a comfortable life to devote her time and energy to help uplift other people’s lives."
"When she returned to join ABS-CBN, she instilled in her people the same drive to help. For her, nothing cannot be done, no effort is too small, anybody can — and should — do their part in making the world a better place.
"All of these she did out of love, and with love, as she believed love to be the strongest force for change.
"We will miss Gina’s light, as a private person, as a leader, and as a crusader. While she left us a void that cannot be filled, we take comfort in knowing that with love, like she had shown us, there remains hope and beauty in the world we live in."
ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. also mourns the passing of its beloved chairman.
An excerpt of its official statement reads: "Gina Lopez was a champion for the environment, child protection, and the disadvantaged. She exemplified a life of service to humanity with a deep desire to improve people’s lives, rallied for social justice, and sought to bring hope and change to poor communities."
An advocate for children's rights, Gina founded the Bantay Bata 163, a social welfare program that is dedicated to rescuing child victims of abuse.
She also established Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies (iLOVE) Foundation, which aims to promote local ecotourism opportunities for rural communities.
In lieu of flowers and Mass cards, the family requests that donations be made to the ABS-CBN Foundation.