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|Senator of the Philippines|
Assumed office |
June 30, 2007
June 30, 1998 – June 30, 2004
|Chair of the Philippine Senate |
Foreign Relations Committee
Assumed office |
May 31, 2017
|Preceded by||Alan Peter Cayetano|
July 26, 2010 – July 22, 2013
|Preceded by||Miriam Defensor Santiago|
|Succeeded by||Miriam Defensor Santiago|
|Chair of the Philippine Senate |
Assumed office |
July 25, 2016
|Preceded by||Francis Escudero|
|Chair of the Philippine Senate |
Natural Resources Committee
July 22, 2013 – July 25, 2016
|Preceded by||Juan Miguel Zubiri|
|Succeeded by||Cynthia Villar|
|Chair of the Philippine Senate |
Climate Change Committee
Assumed office |
December 9, 2009
|Preceded by||new office|
|Chair of the Philippine Senate |
Agriculture and Food Committee
February 2, 2009 – July 22, 2013
|Preceded by||Edgardo Angara|
|Succeeded by||Francis Pangilinan|
|Majority Floor Leader of the Senate of the Philippines|
July 23, 2002 – May 31, 2004
|Preceded by||Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Francis Pangilinan|
July 23, 2001 – June 3, 2002
|Preceded by||Francisco Tatad|
|Succeeded by||Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.|
Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda|
January 28, 1960
Malabon, Rizal, Philippines
|Political party||NPC (2005–present)|
Lakas-CMD (1998–2003) |
Genuine Opposition (2007)
Team PNoy (2012–2013)
|Spouse(s)||Antonio Leviste (1989–2008)|
|Alma mater||University of the Philippines (BA); University of California; National Defense College of the Philippines|
Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda (born January 28, 1960) is a Filipino environmentalist, cultural worker, journalist, and politician, notable as the only female to top two senatorial elections — 1998 and 2007. She has lineage from Antique province and Rizal province. During the 2004 Philippine general election, she ran for the position of Vice-President as an Independent with Fernando Poe, Jr. as running mate and again during the 2010 Philippine presidential election, for the same position as a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) with Manny Villar. US embassy cables leaked by WikiLeaks include her as one of the five most influential women in the Philippines. She was declared by the United Nations as a UN Global Champion for Resilience in 2015 and has led the establishment of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which encompasses 20 climate vulnerable countries. She initiated the majority of culture and environment-related laws in the Philippines which established the country's environmental and cultural policies. She has been named as honorary princess and member by numerous indigenous people communities in the Philippines due to her support for indigenous people's rights since the 1970s. She has been the key delegate of the Philippines to UNESCO multiple times. She was the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Dangal ng Haraya Patron of Arts and Culture. She was honored as a Chevalier in France and Cavaliere in Italy. She was named by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Champion in 2017.
Loren Legarda was born on January 28, 1960 in Malabon (which was then-part of Rizal Province) as Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda, the only daughter of Antonio Cabrera Legarda of San Pablo, Laguna, and Bessie Gella Bautista of Malabon. She treats Antique province as her home province. She was raised by an Ilocana yaya (nanny), who taught her, along with her mother, much about love for culture and the arts and indigenous people. Her maternal grandfather was Jose P. Bautista, an editor of the pre-Martial Law newspaper, The Manila Times. As a teenager, she appeared as a print and television model.
She attended Assumption College from primary to high school, where she was a grade school valedictorian. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast communications and was President of the UP Broadcast Association. She pursued post-graduate courses on special studies towards professional designation in journalism from the University of California, Los Angeles, California and graduated in 1985.
Career in journalism
Legarda began a career in journalism as a reporter for RPN-9, during which she covered topics including Imelda Marcos' trip to Kenya and the People Power Revolution. During this period, she obtained a master's degree in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines, graduating at the top of the class with gold medals for Academic Excellence and Best Thesis. Later, she would move to the reopened ABS-CBN. She became the co-anchor of the television newscast, The World Tonight with Angelo Castro, Jr., and became the host of the current affairs series, The Inside Story.
As a journalist, Loren earned the Gawad Cultural Center of the Philippines, Catholic Mass Media Hall of Fame, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Golden Dove Award, 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),among more than 30 awards.
Senate, 1st term
After becoming urged by the Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos, Legarda ran for the Senate in 1998 under the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP Party. She was elected with more than 15 million votes, allowing her to be the highest vote-getter in that year's election and becoming the second woman to top a Philippine senatorial election. After Legarda filed her candidacy as senator in late 1997, Tina Monzon-Palma who came from rival ABC and was the anchor of The Big News, transferred to ABS-CBN in order to replace her on The World Tonight at the same time and joining Angelo Castro, Jr. in order to run the latter for this election. But when the ratings got low in 1999, the newscast was replaced by Pulso: Aksyon Balita on ABS-CBN and moving The World Tonight to its 24-hour cable news channel ABS-CBN News Channel and until now,[when?] the newscast is still airing.
- Anti-Domestic Violence Act – seeks to uphold and protect the basic human rights of women and their children.
- Anti-Child Labor law – limits the employment of children below 15 years old, restricts the hours of work of working children, expands working children's access to education, social, medical and legal assistance.
- Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act – aims to protect victims of human trafficking.
She also authored the following laws:
- Ecological Solid Waste Management Law – created the National Solid Waste Management Commission, which aims to establish segregation among garbage and wastes.
- Tropical Fabric Law – prescribes the use of Philippine tropical fabrics for official uniforms of government officials and employees and for the purposes, which require the use of fabrics in government offices and functions.
She was named a World Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum, Davos. Legarda played a role in the 2000-01 impeachment trial of Joseph Estrada that sparked the 2001 EDSA Revolution. She was later chosen to be the Senate's Majority Floor Leader from 2001–2004, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
Vice Presidential Election, 2004
In 2003, Legarda left Lakas-CMD (after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo broke her pledge not to run again for president) and joined the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino coalition of Fernando Poe, Jr. as an Independent during the 2004 elections.
On January 18, 2008, in a 21-page resolution, penned by Senior Justice Leonardo Quisumbing, the Supreme Court of the Philippines, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), dismissed Legarda's electoral protest against Noli de Castro.
Senate, 2nd term
In 2007, Legarda decided to run again for Senate under the banner of the Genuine Opposition coalition. She won, receiving more than 18 million votes, which allowed her to become the top vote-getter in that election. On July 14, 2009, she announced her intention to run as president during the 2010 elections. On August 15, her bill, the Magna Carta on Women was passed. Aside from legislations, she also established the Lutiang Pilipinas (Green Philippines), a foundation that has since planted more than 2 million trees all over the Philippines. She established the foundation to aid the Philippines in attaining its United Nations mandate for reforestation, where the target was set by the UN at 2009. On October 23 of that same year, during the launch of her humanitarian program "Lingkod Loren in Luneta", she formally declared her intention to run for vice-president in 2010 under Nationalist People's Coalition with the platform of environmentalism. After Francis Escudero, expected to run for president, left the NPC, she decided that it would be best to stick with the Nacionalista Party's presidential candidate, Manny Villar, as a guest-running mate.
So far in her second term as senator, Legarda has filed the following laws:
- Expanded Senior Citizens Law – seeks to increase the discount granted to senior citizens to 32% on goods and services, impose stiffer penalties to establishments which refuse to honor senior citizen card, etc.
- Climate Change Law – builds resilience to the impacts of climate change through the mainstreaming of climate change in various phases of policy formulation, development plans, poverty reduction strategies and other development tools by all agencies of government.
- Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Act – requires lending institutions to allocate at least eight percent of their total loan portfolio to micro and small businesses.
- Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act – fixes the maximum retail price of certain medicines and increases access of cheaper medicines in the country.
Legarda is an advocate of Climate Change Awareness and has numerous achievements in the fields of social development and human rights advocacy along with her work in journalism. As a journalist, she has received many awards. In 2008, she was chosen as "United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Asia Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation". She was a member of the Philippine delegation during the 2009 Copenhagen Summit.
With her Luntiang Pilipinas foundation, Legarda has planted over two million trees all over the Philippine archipelago. The charity also launched its 10@10: The Ten Million Trees Campaign, a viral tree planting campaign with the intention of planting 10 million trees by the year 2011. This campaign aims to contribute to the United Nations Environmental Program, which aims to reach the seven billion-tree mark by 2009. One of her major accomplishments as an environmentalist is the passage of the Climate Change Act in October 2009. She filed this bill two years ago, through inspiration from the Albay Declaration, the outcome document of the First National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, as it called for “the passage of a policy prioritizing climate change adaptation in the national agenda”. Legarda was chosen by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a member of the Philippine delegation during the 2009 Copenhagen Summit.
Legarda was named as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2000, and was awarded by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) in Turin, Italy, for her work on the environment in 2001. Legarda was appointed as United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Asia Pacific Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, and she participated in the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, the BBC World Debate: ‘Prevent or React’, and the Forum on the Human Impact of Climate Change in Geneva, Switzerland.
Legarda lost her bid for the Philippine vice-presidency to Jejomar Binay, placing third in the 2010 Philippine presidential elections. As a result, she continued to serve in the Senate. In 2010, Legarda was given chairmanship for the Senate committees on climate change, cultural communities, and foreign affairs. She would later go to the United Nations to deposit the Philippines ratification for the International Criminal Court membership. As a result of Koko Pimentel's win in his case against Juan Miguel Zubiri, evidence about Legarda's cheating allegations against Noli de Castro and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have surfaced, where her supporters rallied against de Castro as they believed the 2004 vice presidency was stolen from Legarda through de Castro's electoral cheating.
Senate, 3rd term
Legarda was reelected during the 2013 elections, garnering the second highest number of votes among the 12 winning senators.
During her third term, she focused on much legislative push for various nationalistic, environmental, transparency, and pro-indigenous bills in the Senate. Among these bills being pushed were the Baybayin Bill, which will institutionalize baybayin as the national writing system; a bill to mandate the government to use the Gross Happiness Index used by Bhutan; the Freedom of Information bill (FOI); the Total Logging Ban bill which bans logging for the next 25 years; the International Disaster Relief and Initial Recovery Assistance bill; a Bill establishing the Department of Fisheries; the Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous People bill; Low Carbon Economy bill; Magna Carta for the Poor bill; Anti-Discrimination Bill based on anti-ethnicm racial, religious, and sexual discrimination; Philippine Innovation Bill; Energy Efficiency and Conservation bill; Solo Parent's Welfare bill; Water Sector Reform bill; War Veterans Reform Bill; a bill creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Final Forest Limits bill; Magna Carta for Public School Teachers; National Land Use Act of the Philippines; Expanded NIPAS Act; Philippine Academic Regalia Act; Indigenous Community Conserved Areas Act;mElection Service Reform bill; and the National Cultural Heritage Act, among many other bills and resolutions. She is also pushing for stricter implementation of the laws she authored, specifically the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Renewable Energy Law, Climate Change Law, Clear Water Act, and the Clean Air Act, which the United Nations applauded as the best clean air law crafted by any country in the world.
She also supported the restoration of megalithic churches that were destroyed or damaged by the 2013 Central Visayas Earthquake which hit Bohol, Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Siquijor, and Negros. The restoration was governed by the National Museum of the Philippines with aid from her office. A number of churches that were affected were in the Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On the same year, she led the Philippine delegation group for UNESCO, and was greeted by UNESCO Secretary-General Irina Bokova.
She also spearheaded the return of the Philippines to the Venice Art Biennial, the most acclaimed art exposition in the world, after 5 decades of Philippine absence in the exhibitions. Within only 3 years, the Philippines was set on the main exhibition hall of the infamous art exposition. She also became the presenter of Dayaw, a much-anticipated 6-part series documentation about the comprehensive and holistic heritage of the Philippines, notably indigenous heritage. The series became popular, especially to the youth sector, and was forged as the NCCA's main documentary cultural show which has since released more seasons.
She also focused on the enhancement of Philippine culture and the arts. She pursued greater public awareness and public cooperation for the National Museum of the Philippines, National Library of the Philippines, Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, Cultural Center of the Philippines, the country's own culture and arts commission, indigenous communities in the country, Philippines heritage conservation and restoration, intangible cultural heritage of the country, indigenous Philippine weaving, greater appreciation of Philippine and international art, and support for UNESCO initiatives, including the possible nomination of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade Route to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
She was awarded as a UN Global Champion for Resilience in 2015 due to her advocacy and actions on climate change and environmentalism. She currently chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resource and the Senate Committee on Finance.
She is also pushing for the establishment of the Department of Culture and the Arts, backed by all cultural agencies of government. Due to these factors, she was much cited by various organizations to be the best person to head the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in the future.
In 2017, it was revealed that she was the person who pushed former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to accept the post she was given as she believed and knew Lopez's strong management and implementing skills in environmental conservation. Legarda was one of the only 8 lawmakers who were in favor of Gina Lopez retaining the environment secretary post during a confirmation hearing dominated by pro-mining lawmakers.
She became a part of a special Philippine delegation to the French Senate to discuss about the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. She was named Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre national de la légion d’Honneur (National Order of the French Legion of Order) by the government of France in February 2017.
Legarda initiated and pushed for her home province of Antique's hosting of the 2017 Palarong Pambansa, the national games of the Philippines. It was the first time Antique hosted the games. The effects on the province was notable as tourists from all over the country flocked Antique's heritages sites, including the Antique Rice Terraces and the weaving centrums of the province.
In November 2017, she led the Philippine delegation at the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany. She was named the first ever National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Champion during the event as mandated by an international treaty ratified by the UNFCCC. Legarda led the call for innovative climate finance for vulnerable countries and the lauding of Philippine innovations to adapt, manage, counter, and reverse climate change.
In December 2017, Legarda and director Brillante Mendoza partnered again for a documentary regarding the environment. The series, entitled, "Our Fragile Earth: Protected Areas of the Philippines," began airing in ANC in December 8. It was the first ever documentary series focused on the protected areas of the Philippines. The series features Camotes Island Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, El Nido Managed Resource Protected Area, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Sagay Marine Reserve, Mt. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape, Rasa Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Coron Island, Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (UNESCO World Heritage Site), and Lake Sebu, which is part of the Allah Valley Protected Landscape. The series also features the Ifugao Rice Terraces, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Verde Island Passage.
In January 2018, the fourth season of Dayaw premiered in ANC, while a separate show dedicated to Filipino cuisine and raw ingredients is being planned for a later showing. On the same month, Legarda, through an interview with Karen Davila, urged her fellow lawmakers in both houses to pass the Department of Culture bill, which has been a lifelong advocacy of the senator. In February 2018, Legarda and the NCCA launch the Buhay na Buhay television series which focused on eight living sub-cultures of Filipino culture. On her 58th birthday, Legarda enumerated her options when her term as senator ends in May 2019, namely, to accept the president's offer for a cabinet position (most likely as DSWD secretary, Climate Change Commission co-secretary, or culture secretary), run as congresswoman of the lone district of Antique, or to take a temporary break from politics. It was cited that the most likely scenario would be to accept a cabinet position offered to her in 2017.
Heritage conservationists have cited Legarda as the best candidate of the Philippines in the UNESCO Director-General elections in 2021 or 2025 after reports have appeared stating that Qatar, Iran, and the Philippines may run for the post in the future. The Philippine president supports Legarda's possible candidacy.
In February, she spearheaded in the Senate the ratification of more than 10 international treaties. In March, she led the first ever churchyard orchestra in her home province of Antique and the unveiling of the first ever Language Monument in the Philippines. She also led the investigation on the environmental crisis in Boracay and was appointed as colonel of the Philippine Air Force Reserve Corp.
- Member, Women in Parliaments (WIP) Global Forum Executive Board (2016)
- Co-Chair, Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) 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)
- Founder, Luntiang Pilipinas (1998)
- Founder, Libro ni Loren Foundation (1999)
- Member, Phi Kappa Phi International Honor Society
In 1989, she married former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste. Their marriage produced two sons: Lorenzo Leviste and Leandro Leviste. They separated in 2003 and their marriage was annulled in 2008. One of her sons is the founder and president of Solar Philippines, the country's leading manufacturer and producer of renewable energies and one of the few manufacturing companies that support a full scale renewable energy campaign in the country.
She is currently a Colonel in the Philippine Air Force Reserve Corps. The Maranao Sultanate League of the Moro people bestowed the honorary title of "Bai Alabi" ("Princess") on her. The people of Mountain Province in the Cordillera Mountains gave her the name, "Tukwifi" (Bright Star). Ten indigenous groups in the Davao Region bestowed her the title of "Bai Matumpis" (the one who care). The indigenous people of Panay in the Visayas bestowed her the name, "Kuyong Adlaw Dimpaan" (Sun). She is known to be very fond of traditional Philippine textiles. She started the usage trend of such textiles in the halls of Congress. Legarda is also an organic eater, growing the vegetables, fruits, and grains she eat at her backyard. Her home has been cited by Philippine newspapers as 'a living museum' due to the various artifacts and heirlooms that have been passed down by her ancestors.
- "Legarda is beacon of art for NCCA". 22 December 2016.
- "Loren receives French Legion of Honor – Philstar.com". philstar.com.
- "Legarda receives Italy's prestigious Order of Merit – Philstar.com". philstar.com.
- "WikiLeaks: US impressed with 'influential' Kris, Merci". ABS-CBN News. Posted at 08/30/2011 11:25 PM | Updated as of 08/31/2011 2:29 AM
- Probe Profiles: Loren Legarda. Probe TV/ABS-CBN News. Cheche Lazaro. January 20, 2010. Retrieved on February 5, 2010.
- "Philippines, Manila, Civil Registration, 1899-1984," database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKJR-55F5 : accessed 7 June 2016), Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda, 28 Jan 1960; citing Birth, Manila, Metropolitan Manila, Philippines, Civil Registry Office, City Hall of Manila; FHL microfilm 1,580,963.
- How Green is Loren's Valley?. January 24, 2010. Ricky Lo. The Philippine Star. Retrieved on February 6, 2010.
- News, ABS-CBN. "Loren primed for the vice-presidency".
- "Profile of Lorna Regina "Loren" Bautista Legarda | ABS-CBN News". News.abs-cbn.com. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
- "Senator Loren B. Legarda – Senate of the Philippines". Senate.gov.ph. 2015-11-30. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
- "Palace backs fraud probe | Inquirer News". Newsinfo.inquirer.net. 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
- Avendaño, Christine (2009-07-14). "Legarda says she's ready to run for president". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
- Legaspi, Amita (2009-10-23). "Legarda says she will run as veep under NPC in 2010". GMA News. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- "(UPDATE 2) Escudero leaves NPC". 2009-10-28.
- "UN body names Legarda Global Champion for Resilience". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- BBC World Debate ‘Prevent or React’. July 1, 2009. BBC/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Retrieved on February 5, 2010.
- "allies corner Senate committees". (The Philippine Star) Updated August 03, 2010 12:00 AM.
- "DFA: PHL deposits instrument of ratification for int'l crime court". GMA News. 08/31/2011 | 02:52 PM.
- "Fraud in 2004 presidential polls". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 10:15 pm | Saturday, August 13th, 2011
- "Return ‘proof of fraud,’ SC asked". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 1:11 am | Sunday, August 14th, 2011
- "Legarda looks forward to stronger PH-France ties on climate change".
- "Senator Loren Legarda named Knight in the French Legion of Honor". La France aux Philippines et en Micronésie.
- Uy, Jocelyn R. "Legarda named climate change adaptation champ".
- "PH leads call for innovative climate finance for vulnerable countries".
- "Loren and Brillante again – Philstar.com". philstar.com.
- "Press Release – Loren, Brillante Reunite for 1st Protected Areas Documentary Series". www.senate.gov.ph.
- "Legarda beats drum anew for creation of Department of Culture".
- "New NCCA TV Series Buhay na Buhay Guides Viewers Towards a Deeper Knowledge on and Appreciation for Filipino Culture". Art+ Magazine Online.
- "Loren Legarda's three options". 16 February 2018.
- "Groups appeal closure of Boracay".
- "PH urges tougher global action on cybersex child trafficking".
- "Legarda urges tougher global action on cybersex child trafficking".
- Golden Girl Loren Legarda. January 27, 2010. Martinez-Belen, Cristina. The Manila Bulletin. retrieved on February 6, 2010.
| Majority leader of the Senate of the Philippines