Born to the affluent Lopez family known for their giant media company, Maria Regina “Gina” Paz Lopez didn’t let being privileged hinder her from doing so much work for society.
From being a philanthropist, missionary, visionary, child’s rights advocate and environmentalist, Gina had lived the majority of her life for others.
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At an early age, Gina pursued her passion to find her life’s purpose. And that search landed her in the slums of Portugal, India, and Africa where she worked as an Ananda Marga yoga missionary.
“I think it was more me, my evolution. There was something inside of me that was looking for something and I didn’t find it in the church,” she said in one of her interviews.
After her missionary work, Gina came back to the country and headed the ABS-CBN Foundation. From her starting years at the ABS-CBN Foundation, Gina was instrumental in bringing education to every child through the use of media in her Educational TV project. Her advocacy for education gave life to trailblazing educational shows which eventually lead to the creation of Knowledge Channel.
From introducing Bayani, Hiraya Manawari, Epol Apol, Math Tinik, Sineskwela, Pahina, and ATBP to the Filipino youth of the ’90s, ABS-CBN Foundation also brought these educational shows to every school via video libraries. ABS-CBN Foundation has distributed TV sets and videotapes of educational shows to thousands of schools in the country.
Aside from Educational Television, Lopez also pioneered and spearheaded the child rescue hotline Bantay Bata 163. Though Bantay Bata, many children who were abused were rescued and given shelter in the Bantay Bata Children’s Village in Bulacan.
But with the many social works that she did, Gina will be best remembered as the country’s environmental heroine.
Gina was instrumental in starting different environmental campaigns through the Bantay Kalikasan project.
Through Bantay Kalikasan, Gina worked on the rehabilitation of La Mesa Watershed and the development of La Mesa Ecopark.
She also spearheaded work on the Pasig River Rehabilitation Project where she was appointed as the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission Chairperson. She also led the winning signature campaign against small scale mining in Palawan.
Her work for the environment was officially recognized when she was appointed Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2016.
During her time at the Department, Lopez worked for the closure and banning of destructive mining in the country. But that initiative also cost her the position because in 2017 she failed to hurdle the Commission on Appointments.
After leaving government, Gina concentrated on her love for the environment and eco-tourism through her magazine show G Diaries.