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LEAF 2018 SPEAKER IN FOCUS: Gina Lopez

Regina Paz "Gina" La'O López is a Filipino environmentalist and philanthropist who is the incumbent Chairperson of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. She served as Secretary of the Philippines' Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in an ad interim basis under President Rodrigo Duterte. She is also a former yoga missionary and a pioneer for corporate social responsibility.

Awards and Recognitions

  • United Nations Grand Awardee for Excellence (1997) for the Bantay Bata 163 which she initiated and advocated International Public Relations Award of Excellence for the Environment (1997)
  • Outstanding Manilans Award for the Environment (2009)
  • UNESCO Kalinga Award, where she was the first Southeast Asian to receive the prestigious award
  • Doctorate Degree in Humanities, Honoris Causa from the Ateneo de Naga University
  • 2017 Seacology Prize

iLOVE Foundation 
Gina Lopez is founder and chairman of iLOVE (Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies) Foundation.

Philippine GDP has reportedly grown by 6.7% in 2017. The Philippines remains one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, placing 3rd behind China and Vietnam.

But these are mostly from remittances of OFWs and BPO revenues, estimated at $30 billion each. With these two revenue generators, we are affecting our human capital and adversely destroying the social fabric of our country. What about a resource-based economy?

Social Weather Station Survey shows that 50% of Filipinos still regard themselves as poor. Using international benchmarks, 60% of Filipinos earn below $3/day. This is in contrast to government statistics that only 21.6% of families were poor in 2015.

70% of rural poor are farmers and fishermen, and agriculture is fast becoming a dying sector. Philippine statistics will readily reveal that farmers and fishermen manifested the highest incidence of poverty among the poverty sectors, both at 34% each in 2016.

This is why i.L.O.V.E. aims to engage genuine partners to help empower village economies and educate the public towards social justice. It all starts with protecting our environment and making sure that local communities are the juans who benefit from our resources.

iLOVE Foundation currently have these successful models of area development across the country. With the help of different loving organizations such as Bantay Kalikasan and Southern Partners and Fair Trade Center, these communities have grown through education, environmental initiatives and compassionate entrepreneurship.

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