The Commission on Appointments (CA) has approved the ad interim appointment of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu on Wednesday.
Senator Manny Pacquiao, chairman of the CA committee on environment and natural resources, recommended the approval of Cimatu to the plenary.
"It is with great pleasure and honor to report to the Commission, to the President, to the men and women of the DENR, and to the whole nation the overwhelming yes, votes, of the members of this commission confirming and affirming the ad interim appointment of our DENR Secretary in the person of Roy A. Cimatu," Pacquiao said.
"Secretary Cimatu is perhaps the most fit and best qualified for the DENR highest post," he added.
Senator Loren Legarda, Miguel Zubiri and Tito Sotto also expressed their support for Cimatu.
Cimatu was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this year after Gina Lopez, the then-secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, failed to pass the scrutiny of the commission.
Cimatu said the "challenge" for him now was to prove to President Rodrigo Duterte and members of the CA that they have made the "right decision in placing their trust and confidence [in me]"
"I am pleased, honored and humbled by the vote of the Commission on Appointments confirming my nomination. I am excited about this opportunity to continue serving the public as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources," he said.
He said that his confirmation would allow him to "continue to institute reforms, and pursue programs and projects that would truly protect the environment and improve people's lives."
"This gives me enough inspiration to carry out the seemingly gargantuan tasks of protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable use of the country's rich natural resources in the face of climate change and dwindling natural wealth of the nation," Cimatu said.
The Environment Secretary also assured that the agency would push for "people-centered agenda."
"Rest assured that under my watch, the DENR will push for people-centered agenda in pursuit of environmental protection and sustainable development. It is high time that every Filipino, regardless of status in life, should have equal access to the benefits of clean environment and sustainable natural resources," he said.
Cimatu is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1970, served as Armed Forces chief from May to September in 2002.
He also served as the special envoy to the Middle East during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Cimatu had said that he would uphold Duterte's plans to ban open-pit mining. — MDM, GMA News