Loren Legarda

Loren Legarda

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Loren Legarda is a broadcast journalist, environmentalist and legislator who has served in Congress for more than 30 years. She is also an advocate for a variety of causes including the promotion of Philippine culture and the arts.

After almost two decades in broadcast journalism, Legarda was first elected to the Senate in 1998 where she would serve a total of three non-consecutive terms in the Senate until 2019. There, she principally authored several laws including the Climate Change Act of 2019, the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018 and the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act.

She also made two failed bids for the vice presidency: the first in 2004 when she ran in a tandem with presidential aspirant Fernando Poe Jr., who passed away that same year, and again in 2010 with former Senator Manny Villar.

In 2019, Legarda ran to represent the lone District of Antique and won. She currently serves as a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.

Legarda is seeking to return to the Senate under the three separate slates of the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Senator Panfilo Lacson.

She is campaigning on employment regeneration and green pandemic recovery, and pointed to the development of Antique in a little more than two years as a model for such recovery. She also called on presidential candidates to adopt a climate and environmental agenda that incorporates the concerns for both issues as the Philippines strives to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic through improved health services and job creation.

Legarda supports the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality Bill, the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, and the legalization of divorce.

“Ang lider na kailangan ng ating bansa sa panahon ng pandemya ay isang malawak ang karanasan hindi lang sa paggagawa ng mahahalagang batas ayon sa pandemic recovery kundi marunong din tumugon sa pangangailangan ng kalusugan, pangkabuhayan, at edukasyon.”

LORNA REGINA “LOREN” BAUTISTA LEGARDA

Full Name: Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda
Nickname: “Loren”
Birthdate: January 28, 1960 (Age 62)
Birthplace: Malabon City, Metro Manila
Residence: Pandan, Antique
Religion: Catholic
Languages Spoken: Filipino, English
Parents:
– Antonio Cabrera Legarda
– Bessie Gella Bautista
Siblings: Two siblings
Marital Status: Annulled; Jose Antonio “Tony” Casals Leviste (1989-2008)
Children:
– Lorenzo “Lanz” Leviste
– Leandro “Lean” Leviste, founder and president of Solar Philippines (2011)
Profession/Occupation: Legislator

EDUCATION

  • Master’s Degree, National Security Administration, National Defense College of the Philippines, 1993
  • Post-graduate degree in Journalism, University of California, Los Angeles, 1985
  • B.A. Broadcast Communications, University of the Philippines Diliman, 1981
  • Doctor of Laws, University of the Philippines Diliman, June 24, 2018

WORK EXPERIENCE

  • Head, Ad Hoc Quick Response Team on the Taal Volcano eruption (2020)
  • Deputy Speaker and Antique Lone District Representative, 18th Congress (2019-2022)
  • Senator, 17th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2016-2019)
  • Senator, 16th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2013-2016)
  • Senator, 15th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2010-2013)
  • Senator, 14th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2007-2010)
  • Senator and Majority Leader, 12th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines (2001-2004)

VARIOUS POSITIONS

  • Member, Women in Parliaments Global Forum Executive Board, 2016
  • Co-Chair, Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment Philippines
  • Senior Advisor, Ocean Security International, 2013
  • Founding Member, Global Advisory Group of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction, 2012
  • Founding Chair, Asia Pacific Institute for Green Development, 2011
  • Colonel, Philippine Air Force Reserve
  • Hosted, conceptualized and co-produced several TV series and documentaries, Broadcast journalist, 1978-1998

BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

AS SENATOR

 Author

  • RA 9729: Philippine Climate Change Act
  • RA 9003: Ecological Solid Waste Management Act
  • RA 9501: Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
  • RA 9509: Barangay Kabuhayan Act
  • RA 10606: National Health Insurance Act
  • RA 9709: Universal Newborn Screening and Intervention Act
  • RA 9208: Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act
  • RA 10692: PAGASA Modernization Act
  • RA 10693: Microfinance NGOs Act
  • RA 10687: Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act
  • RA 10844: Department of Information and Communications Technology Act

Co-author

  • RA 8749: Clean Air Act
  • RA 9262: Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act
  • RA 7658: Anti-Child Labor Law
  • RA 10000: Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act
  • RA 9242: Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law
  • RA 9245: Philippine Ear Research Institute Act
  • RA 10121: Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act
  • RA 10361: Domestic Workers Act
  • RA 9513: Renewable Energy Act
  • RA 9512: Environmental Awareness Education Act
  • RA 9710: Magna Carta of Women
  • RA 10533: Enhanced Basic Education Act
  • RA 9711: Food and Drug Administration Act
  • RA 9593: Tourism Act
  • RA 10771: Green Jobs Act
  • RA 10821: Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act
  • RA 10659: Sugarcane Industry Development Act
  • RA 10676: Student-Athletes Protection Act
  • RA 10747: Rare Diseases Act of the Philippines
  • RA 9994: Expanded Senior Citizens Act
  • RA 10635: Maritime Industry Authority Act
  • RA 10752: Right of Way for National Government Infrastructure Projects Act
  • RA 10801: Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Act
  • RA 10744: Credit Surety Fund Cooperative Act
  • RA 10754: Act expanding the benefits and privileges of persons with disability
  • RA 10654: Act amending the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998
  • RA 8759: Public Employment Service Office Act
  • RA 10869: JobStart Philippines Act
  • RA 10867: NBI Reorganization and Modernization Act
  • RA 10688: Metallurgical Engineering Act
  • RA 10644: Go Negosyo Act
  • RA 9160: Anti-Money Laundering Act
  • RA 9165: Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act
  • RA 9189: Overseas Absentee Voting Act
  • RA 9208: Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act
  • RA 9231: Magna Carta for the Working Child
  • RA 9262: Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act
  • RA 9184: Government Procurement Reform Act
  • RA 9177: The Eid’l Fitr Holiday Act

AS CONGRESSWOMAN

Author

  • RA 11523: Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act
  • RA 11494: Bayanihan to Recover As One Act
  • RA 11525: COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act
  • RA 11550: Charter of the Provinces of Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur

Co-author

  • RA 11466: Salary Standardization Law
  • RA 11511: Act providing for the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the Philippines and for other purposes
  • RA 11593: Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao

BIOGRAPHY

For the past three decades, Senator Loren Legarda has dedicated her work to serve the Filipino people, primarily by promoting the sustainable and equitable use of our natural resources; advancing programs on building community resilience; advocating for social justice, human rights, peace and cultural diversity; and initiating measures for quality and accessible education, decent employment and livelihood opportunities.

Topnotch Senator

A three-term Senator, Legarda is the only female who topped the Senate race twice, with more than 15 million and 18.4 million votes in 1998 and 2007, respectively. She is the only woman to become Senate majority leader.

Loren has authored and sponsored landmark laws such as: the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (RA 9994); the Barangay Kabuhayan Act (RA 9509); the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (RA 9501); the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act (RA 10000); the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act (RA 9262); the Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710); the Anti-Child Labor Law (RA 9231); the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (RA 9208) and its expanded version (RA 10364); the Philippine Ear Research Institute Act (RA 9245); the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Act of 2009 (RA 9709); the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Act of 2009 (RA 9711); the Philippine Tropical Fabric Law (RA 9242); the Eid’ul Fitr Holiday Law (RA 9177); the Tourism Act of 2009 (RA 9593); the Clean Air Act (RA 8749); the Environmental Awareness Education Act (RA 9512); the Renewable Energy Act (RA 9513); the Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003); the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (RA 10121); the Climate Change Act (RA 9729) and its amendatory law (RA 10174), which provides for the creation of the People’s Survival Fund, the Kasambahay Law (RA 10361), the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (RA 10533) and the Universal Healthcare Act (RA 10606), among many vital pieces of legislation.

Game-changer for Asia

Amid the increasing risks of a warming world and a changing climate emerges Senator Legarda, a woman development leader from the Philippines.

She is a game-changer for Asia with a compelling vision of a safer and greener world for all.

Senator Legarda advocates for quality human living harmonious with nature by seeking the path for green growth and sustainable development for nations, and challenging world leaders to save our home planet and preserve humankind now.

Environmental Champion

As the Philippines’ foremost advocate of green development, Senator Legarda worked for the enactment of laws on environmental governance like the Clean Air Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, the Climate Change Act and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act.

At her own initiative, Senator Legarda has spearheaded an information and education campaign on the science of climate change, its impact on our everyday lives and how Filipinos can avert and adapt to the changing climate. These short films include “Ulan sa Tag-Araw: Isang Dokyu-drama Ukol sa Pagbabago ng Klima” (Rains in the Summer: A Documentary Drama on Climate Change), children’s animation movie “Ligtas Likas”, “Buhos” (Downpour), “Philippine Marine Biodiversity”, and “Antique: Coral Restoration Program”.

Senator Legarda collaborated with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in the documentary “Now is the Time”, which calls on leaders and decision-makers to strive for disaster-resilient development.

Through the greening program she founded, Luntiang Pilipinas (Green Philippines), which has planted two million trees in more than 500 hectares across the Philippines, Senator Legarda continues to enjoin the participation of stakeholders in pursuing this environmental advocacy.

For her contribution in protecting the environment and pushing for climate change adaptation policies, the University of the Philippines (UP) chose Senator Loren Legarda as its 2013 Distinguished Alumna for Environmental Protection and Climate Change Adaptation.

Global Thinker

The world recognizes the inspiring leadership of Senator Legarda in the global campaign for good environmental governance. In 2000, the World Economic Forum held in Davos named her as one of the Global Leaders for Tomorrow.

Similarly, the United Nations has also acknowledged Senator Loren Legarda twice. In the year 2001, the United Nations Environment Programme conferred on her the title of UNEP Laureate and included her in the Global 500 Roll of Honor.

In 2008, the UNISDR appointed her as its Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption for Asia and the Pacific during the 3rd Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in December 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Along with her appointment as regional champion is the mission to convey an important message to world leaders.

A couple of months before her appointment as champion, in a seeming test of her parliamentary leadership, Senator Loren Legarda was asked by UNISDR to steer a meeting of parliamentarians in Manila on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Leading parliamentarians from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America came to the meeting in October 2008.

Through her able leadership, Loren successfully steered the meeting into a consensus dubbed as the Manila Call for Action by Parliamentarians which called on parliamentarians of the world to make disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation a national priority and a key consideration in development planning.

Senator Legarda, in her first official country mission as the Asia-Pacific Regional Champion in May 2009, addressed the Bhutan National Sensitization Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction, encouraging delegates to incorporate disaster risk reduction as an integral part of their development concept of Gross National Happiness.

At the Second Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Reduction in Geneva in June 2009, Senator Legarda challenged world leaders with a call for a new brand of politics and governance – the kind that shepherds proactive laws and policies to address disaster risks. She reiterated this challenge at the 2009 Forum on the Human Impact of Climate Change and at the parliamentary meeting of the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

In July 2009, Senator Legarda led a UNISDR delegation that sealed an agreement between Maldives and UNISDR to define a comprehensive disaster risk reduction strategy for the island nation, and find means for the UN and other partners to help the country implement this strategy.

In November 2010, Senator Legarda convened the Consultative Meeting for Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction: An Instrument for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals towards a consensus to undertake concrete actions embodied in the Manila Call for Action 2010.

Senator Legarda, with the UNISDR, spearheaded international dialogues in Paris, Beijing, Geneva, Copenhagen and Hanoi. She is a member of the Global Advisory Group of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction.

Senator Legarda’s journey on the international level, the prominent role she plays in the Asia-Pacific region, and her advocacy among world leaders and citizens of the Philippines and the region, are recounted in a book entitled Redefining Development: The Living Advocacy of Senator Loren Legarda, as she challenges everyone to promote responsible leadership, good governance and sustainable living.

In the realm of foreign relations, Senator Legarda, who was Chairperson of the Committee on Foreign Relations in the 15th Congress, sponsored the approval of 16 international agreements, deepening the Philippines’ bilateral relations with various countries and promoting the welfare of Filipinos in the country and abroad. These agreements are the RP-Japan Agreement on Technical Cooperation; the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture; the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention, Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts; the Agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management to Establish the Office of the WorldFish Center in the Philippines; the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between the Philippines and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; the MLAT between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China; the Consular Agreement with the People’s Republic of China; the Convention on Social Security between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Spain; the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement Between the Philippines and Australia; the International Labour Organization Convention 189 (Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers); the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006; the Protocol Amending the Agreement between the Philippine Government and the French Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income; two (2) treaties on the Avoidance of Double Taxation – the Philippines – Kuwait Tax Treaty and the Philippines- Qatar Tax Treaty and the Agreement between the Philippine Government and the UNESCO to establish the Southeast Asian Center for Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development (SEA CLLSD) in the country.

On the occasion of the 2015 Paris Climate Summit (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC) on 30 November 2015, Senator Legarda was appointed by the UNISDR as Global Champion for Resilience, with the distinguished role of providing leadership to build the resilience of nations and communities from disasters.

The French Government also recognized Senator Legarda’s commitment to the fight against climate change and to the promotion of culture and heritage. She was named Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre national de la légion d’Honneur (National Order of the French Legion of Honor) for her invaluable contribution in strengthening the bilateral ties between Philippines and France.

Peacebuilder

Senator Legarda has also contributed to peace efforts. She played a crucial role in the safe and expeditious release of military and police officers and men who were held captive by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and journalists who were held captive in Sulu.

For her outstanding work for the cause of Muslims, she was bestowed the title of Bai a labi (Honorary Muslim Princess) by the Marawi Sultanate league.

Voice of the Indigenous Peoples

Fervently advocating for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and initiating efforts to liberate them from various forms of discrimination, Senator Legarda has become the voice of Filipinos who continue to embrace their cultural roots and heritage.

Her love for tropical fabrics and native products, and her visits to indigenous communities in different parts of the country inspired Loren to initially set-up cultural exhibits that showcased the exceptional skills and world-class products of IPs, and in 2011, in her capacity as Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, successfully organized regional assemblies—in Baguio City for Luzon IPs, in Iloilo City for Visayas IPs, and in Tagum City, Davao del Norte for Mindanao IPs—and the First National Indigenous Cultural Summit that served as avenues for dialogue with local and national policy-makers as well as international institutions.

Senator Legarda supported the development of cultural villages of the Ata-Talaingod, Mandaya, B’laan, and Bagobo Tagabawa in various activities of their Schools of Living Traditions. She supported the establishment of the country’s first permanent textile galleries called the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles at the National Museum in order to celebrate indigenous artistry and revitalize our weaving traditions.

In October 2012, she launched the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines with the hope of solving one of the greatest threats to Filipino indigenous artistry – extinction brought about by apathy. The exhibition was a highlight of the Manila FAME Design and Lifestyle Event 2012 and showcased the rich and colourful heritage of Schools of Living Tradition.

As a sign of gratitude for advancing IP concerns, the cultural communities of Mindanao adopted Senator Legarda as “Bae Matumpis,” which means “The one who takes care”.

The Panay-Bukidnon from Visayas declared Senator Legarda as a “daughter of Panay-Bukidnon” and gave her the name “Cuyong Adlaw Dulpa-an Labaw sa Kadunggan”, which translates to “shining sun rising in power”.

Senator Legarda was also named by the Cordillera Indigenous Elected Women Leaders’ League as “Tukwifi” which means “Bright Star”.

Women and Children’s Rights Champion

Senator Legarda places special interest in protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of women, youth, and children. Her legislative efforts resulted in the passage of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, Magna Carta of Women, Anti-Child Labor Law, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and its expanded version, the Expanded Anti- Trafficking in Persons Act.

Apart from her professional work, Loren has taken it upon herself to personally help women and children who have become victims of unfortunate circumstances, like Joseph Boseto and Rodel Morcozo who were both child miners in Camarines Norte. Rodel would search for gold and handle mercury-based chemicals with bare hands, while Joseph used to dive to 30 feet in a narrowly-dug hole filled with murky water with only a pair of goggles to protect his eyes, cotton balls to protect his ears from air pressure, and a tube connected to a compressor as his oxygen source.

Loren helped them escape from the dangerous world of mining by supporting their education—the same assistance she provided to Melinda de Vera, who once lived in a wooden cart and helped her mother sell candies in the streets of Paco, Manila.

Joseph, Rodel, and Melinda are only a few of the many individuals who were freed from child labor and given the opportunity to secure their right to education with the support of Senator Legarda. This opportunity, Loren continues to share with others through her foundations.

Passionate Advocate

Loren has instituted foundations that would focus on delivering positive results on her various advocacies. She established the Libro ni Loren Foundation, Inc. to help improve the literacy level in the country’s poorest provinces. The foundation supports the education of indigent but deserving youth.

She also founded the Bessie Legarda Memorial Foundation, Inc. to provide medical assistance to indigent breast cancer victims and serve as support group to their families. Likewise, she organized the Livelihood Opportunities to Raise Entrepreneurship Nationwide (LOREN) which provides capital for women entrepreneurs.

Top Caliber Journalist

Prior to becoming a public official, Loren was well known as the award-winning anchor and producer of two of the Philippines’ most popular and respected news programs.

As a journalist, Loren earned prestigious awards such as the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) from the Philippine Jaycees (1992), The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Award (1995), and the Benigno Aquino Award for Journalism (1995) for her sterling record as a journalist for more than two decades, among more than 30 awards.

Passion for Excellence

Loren graduated valedictorian in elementary school and completed her secondary schooling with honors at the Assumption Convent. She obtained a degree in broadcast communications cum laude from the University of the Philippines.

While working as a broadcast journalist, Loren pursued her post-graduate studies at the National Defense College of the Philippines where she obtained a degree in National Security Administration and graduated at the top of her class. Loren is a reserve officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Legarda is a lifetime member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, an international organization that promotes academic excellence and encourages its members to be of service to others.

Family of Public Servants

She was born to a family of newsmen, educators, physicians and public servants. Her paternal great grandfather Potenciano Cabrera was the first Mayor of San Pablo City, Laguna while her maternal great granduncle Vicente Gella was a Governor of Antique. Her grandfather, Jose P. Bautista, was a pillar of Philippine journalism.

Loren was born in Malabon and was raised by an Ilocana yaya whom she fondly calls nanay. Her father Antonio Cabrera Legarda is from San Pablo City, Laguna and her mother Bessie Gella Bautista is from Pandan, Antique. She is a loving and devoted mother to her two sons.

ADVOCACIES

From protecting the environment to efforts for the continued recognition of our national identity, click on each category to learn more about how Loren stands by her advocacies.

Education

Loren believes that literacy is a fundamental human right. As such, she acknowledges the urgent need for a collaborative effort between government and non-government organizations involved in literacy promotion. While accessibility to education and literacy are basic problems inherent to every society, the Philippines is also in need of good quality education. Despite the existence of laws and programs aimed to improve the education system, much still needs to be done to see the effects at the grassroots level.

Loren co-authored the following measures that were enacted into law: the Early Childhood Care and Development (RA 9890), Negros State College of Agriculture (RA 9141), National Apiculture Research, Training and Development Institute (RA 9151), Leyte State University (RA 9158), and the Cebu International School

Environment, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

A passionate environmentalist, Loren started her campaign for environmental protection and preservation in the 1980s when she became broadcast journalist.

During her incumbency as Senator, she actively espoused for the passage of important environmental measures such as the Philippine Clean Air Act (RA 8749) and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003).

Apart from this, she also espoused the clean up of toxic wastes left behind by former United States military bases in Subic and Clark, and has helped provide medical assistance to children who were victims of toxic waste contamination.

Among her co-authored laws on environmental protection are: Mt. Kitanglad Range Protected Area (RA 8978), Batanes Group of Islands Protected Area (Ra 8991), and the Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources Act (RA 9147).

In 2009, she espoused for the passage of the Climate Change Law, a landmark legislation that is considered as a model for other nations.

As current Chairwoman of the Climate Change Oversight Committee of the Senate, Loren ensures that climate change, including adaptation and disaster risk reduction, is addressed as a national priority and considered in policy making and development planning.

Employment & Entrepreneurship

Loren recognizes the constitutional mandate that labor is a primary social and economic force; and that the rights of workers must be protected and their welfare be promoted.

One of the first laws that she co-authored was the establishment of the Public Employment Service Office (RA 8759) in all capital towns, key cities and other strategic areas nationwide.

In the 14th Congress, Loren as Chair of the Economic Affairs Committee sponsored the amendments to the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (RA 9501) to generate employment and economic activities and essentially spur growth in the countryside.

Nationalism

Loren believes that nationalism should be nurtured by the unity of intention and oneness of motive for our country be great again. Therefore, all efforts towards national reconciliation and healing must be pursued, particularly through legislation that seeks to recognize the richness of culture, the uniqueness of our diversity as a people, and those Filipinos who have labored to preserve our culture through the history of forebears. In line with this, she co-authored the declaration of Eid´l Fitr as a national holiday (RA 9177) and likewise co-sponsored the declaration of June 30 of every year as the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day (RA 9187).

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