Ilocanos hail Cimatu appointment as new DENR chief

LAOAG CITY -— Ilocanos in this northern gateway of Luzon have welcomed the appointment of former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Roy Cimatu as the new Environment secretary.

Cimatu is from Bangui town, home of the first wind power farm in South East Asia.

As SE Asia’s renewable energy capital, Ilocos Norte is also the first province in the Philippines to ban the entry of coal power plants through an August 2016 Provincial Resolution No. 017-2016, declaring the province as a “clean, green and coal-free province.”

With its solar, wind and hydroelectric energy sources, Ilocos Norte is already generating about 50 percent of its power requirement from clean or renewable energy.

Among the first to congratulate Cimatu from the province is his fellow townmate and relative, Provincial Board Member Rogelio Balbag. “I take pride of our very own General and DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu. I am confident of his ability and I know he will deliver the mission well,” said Balbag, citing it is an honor to have another Ilocano joining the Cabinet members of the Duterte administration.

In a radio interview aired over Bombo Radyo Laoag, Cimatu assured that he will do his best to fulfill his new oath of office and let the interest of the people and country prevail.

Ilocos Norte’s environmental sector has also condemned all forms of mining in the province and has pushed for alternative industries to boost its economy without sacrificing its natural resources.

When asked about his position on the controversial mining firms, Cimatu said he is open to reviewing mining’s best practices.

On Monday, Cimatu took his oath before President Rodrigo Duterte as he replaced environment advocate Gina Lopez whose nomination was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) last week. Leilanie Adriano/