MANILA (via ABSCBN News)—Filipino philanthropist and environmentalist Gina Lopez died on Monday after battling brain cancer. She was 65.
Lopez was the founder of ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) and was a former Environment Secretary.
“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 a 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.
“Thank you Gina, for showing us how it is to live in the service of the Filipino,” ABS-CBN said.
The company’s chairman, Mark Lopez, also mourned the loss of the staunch environmentalist and children’s rights advocate.
“Today, we lost not just a family member but a person we deeply admire and respect,” the ABS-CBN Corp Chairman said in a statement.
Mark Lopez is a cousin of the former Environment Secretary.
“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,” Mr. Lopez said.
“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.
Mr. Lopez lauded his cousin for her efforts to rescue victims of child abuse, save a watershed, stop the destruction of the environment, clean a river, and help communities stand on their own by turning them into eco-tourism sites.
Gina Lopez became known for her work in rehabilitating the Pasig River and La Mesa Watershed and shutting down mining operations found to have violated environmental laws.
“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 remembered the zeal of the institution’s founder.
“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,” AFI said in a statement.
As an advocate for children’s rights, she founded the Bantay Bata 163, a helpline devoted to reports of cases of child abuse.
She also established Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies (iLOVE) Foundation, which aims to lift communities out of poverty through the creation of environmentally conscious businesses at the grassroots level.
Lopez was the sister of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Gabby Lopez and daughter of “Kapitan” Eugenio Lopez, Jr.
In lieu of flowers and Mass cards, the family requests that donations be made to the ABS-CBN Foundation.