|Deputy Speaker |
of the House of Representatives
July 22, 2019
|Member of the |
Philippine House of Representatives
from the Lone District of Antique
June 30, 2019
|Paolo Everardo Javier|
|Senator of the Philippines|
June 30, 2007 - June 30, 2019
June 30, 1998 - June 30, 2004
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)
(m. 1989; annulled 2008)
|Alma mater||University of the Philippines Diliman|
National Defense College of the Philippines
|Nickname(s)||Bai A Labi (Honorary Muslim Princess) of the Marawi Sultanate League;Suludnon Indigenous Peoples of Panay|
Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda (born January 28, 1960) is a Filipino politician, environmentalist, cultural worker, and former journalist who is currently serving as the representative of Antique and as a Deputy House Speaker. She previously served as a senator twice: from 1998 to 2004 and from 2007 to 2019. She is notable for being the only female to top two senatorial elections: 1998 and 2007. She also unsuccessfully ran for vice president twice: In 2004 as the running mate of Fernando Poe Jr., and again in 2010 as the running mate of Manny Villar.
Legarda was a 2001 UNEP Laureate as declared by the United Nations Environment Programme, and a 2008 Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaption for Asia and the Pacific as declared by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. She was declared by the United Nations as a UN Global Champion for Resilience in 2015. She chaired the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which encompasses 20 climate vulnerable countries. She initiated a number of culture, human rights, education, and environment-related laws in the Philippines, such as the Climate Change Law and Anti-Domestic Violence Act. 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. In 2018, Legarda became a Commissioner of the newly-formed international organization, Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA).
Loren Legarda was born on January 28, 1960 in Malabon as Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda, the only daughter of Antonio Cabrera Legarda and Bessie Gella Bautista. Her maternal grandfather was Jose P. Bautista, editor-in-chief 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 Diliman 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.
Legarda began a career in journalism as a reporter for RPN, 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.
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. In 1999, the newscast was replaced by Pulso: Aksyon Balita on ABS-CBN and was moved to the ABS-CBN News Channel and until now,[when?] the newscast is still airing.
During her first six years in the Senate, Legarda authored legislation benefiting women's and children's rights, such as the Anti-Domestic Violence Act which seeks to uphold and protect the basic human rights of women and their children, the Anti-Child Labor law which 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, and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act which aims to protect victims of human trafficking.
She also authored the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law which created the National Solid Waste Management Commission, which aims to establish segregation among garbage and wastes, and the Tropical Fabric Law which 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.[clarification needed] She was later chosen to be the Senate's Majority Floor Leader from 2001-2004, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
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.
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 Luntiang 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.
In her second term as senator, Legarda authored the Expanded Senior Citizens Law which 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., the Climate Change Law which 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, the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Act which requires lending institutions to allocate at least eight percent of their total loan portfolio to micro and small businesses, and the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act which 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.
Luntiang Pilipinas 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.
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 National Writing Systems Bill, which will institutionalize baybayin and other indigenous writing systems as the national writing systems; 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. Due to popularity, the show has been given a continuous series annually.
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 United Nations Global Champion for Resilience in 2015 due to her advocacy and actions on climate change and environmentalism. She has chaired the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resource and the Senate Committee on Finance. Legarda is among a group of senators who are pushing for the creation of the Department of Culture and the Arts, backed by all cultural agencies of government. She was unable to enter her vote of support or dissent on a Senate resolution which sought to condemn the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Heroes' Cemetery in November 2016.
In 2017, it was revealed that Legarda, a staunch environmentalist, was the person who persuaded 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 only 8 lawmakers who were in favor of Gina Lopez retaining the environment secretary post during a controversial confirmation hearing which ousted the anti-mining Lopez from her position.
Legarda became 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. She supported the Philippine Drug War of President Rodrigo Duterte, but said that she does not support the police killings of innocent citizens.
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.
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. In March, Legarda led the Philippine delegation to the United Nations and urged tougher global actions against cybersex and child trafficking. In May, she was among the 14 senators who filed a resolution urging the Supreme Court to review its ouster decision in regards to the quo warranto petition against Maria Lourdes Sereno. In June 24, the University of the Philippines conferred upon Legarda the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa.
In August 10, Legarda backed the passage of the pro-LGBT SOGIE Equality Bill in the Senate, which led to the backing of more senators. In October 16, Legarda became a Commissioner of the newly-formed international organization, Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA). In October 18, Legarda announced that she will run as congresswoman of the lone district of Antique in Western Visayas in the 2019 Philippine elections. Her congressional run went to the court after a local politician argued against her candidacy. In November 7, Legarda again supported the creation of a Department of Culture in the Philippines, along with 9 co-senators. In February 6, 2019, the courts officially allowed Legarda to run for congresswoman of Antique province. In February 7, a bill which safeguards the 1,446 Gabaldon school heritage buildings of the country, authored by Legarda, was enacted into law. In May 2019, she successfully sponsored the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary agreement between the Philippines and Indonesia, which led to its ratification. In June 2019, she was given the 2019 Award of Distinction by the European Union.
Legarda was elected as the new congresswoman and representative of the province and district of Antique after the May 2019 elections, where she received a landslide victory against a political dynasty. She is set to assume the position on July 1, 2019.
Majority of laws authored by Legarda focus on education, indigenous people rights, culture, women's rights, children's rights, health, and notably the environment. The following are the laws that were principally authored by Legarda during her three terms as senator (1998-2004, 2007-2013, and 2013-2019). The list excludes laws that were supported by Legarda as a co-author such as the National Cultural Heritage Act, Philippine Mental Health Law, HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018, Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, and the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
Additionally, Legarda has filed more than 330 bills and resolutions including the Total Logging Ban Act, International Disaster Relief and Initial Recovery Assistance Act, Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, Department of Fisheries Act, Low Carbon Economy Act, Magna Carta of the Poor, Freedom of Information Act, Water Sector Reform Act, The Solo Parents' Welfare Act of 2010, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, Anti-Ethnic, Racial, Religious and Sexual Discrimination and Profiling Act, Magna Carta for Public School Teachers, Final Forest Limits Act, National Land Use Act of the Philippines, Department of Culture and the Arts Act, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, Humanitarian Assistance to the Rohingya Refugees Resolution, Moro History, Culture and Identity Studies Act of 2015, Indigenous Community Conserved Areas Act of 2014, National Writing System Act of 2014, and Sugarcane Industry Development Act of 2014.
In 1989, Lorna Regina Bautista Legarda married former Batangas Governor Antonio Leviste. Their marriage produced two sons: Lorenzo "Lanz" Leviste and Leandro "Lean" Leviste, founder and president of Solar Philippines, the country's leading manufacturer and producer of renewable energies. Legarda and Leviste separated in 2003 and their marriage was annulled in 2008.
Legarda is the only daughter of Antonio Cabrera Legarda and art collector Bessie Gella Bautista of Malabon. Her maternal grandfather was Jose P. Bautista, editor of the pre-Martial Law newspaper, The Manila Times, while her maternal grandmother was Carmen Gella Bautista of Pandan, Antique. Legarda's maternal great-grandfather, Ariston Gella, was a member of the Malolos Congress that crafted the Philippine Constitution of the First Philippine Republic. Her great-granduncle Vicente Gella was governor of the province while her great-granduncle was mayor of Sibalom. A brother of her grandfather, Bartolome Gella, also served as governor of Antique.
She is a Colonel in the Philippine Air Force Reserve Corps. The Marawi Sultanate League 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", which means "the one who takes care". The indigenous people of Panay in the Visayas declared her a "daughter of Panay-Bukidnon" and bestowed her the name, "Cuyong Adlaw Dulpa-an Labaw sa Kadunggan" (Shining Sun Rising in Power). She is known to be very fond of traditional Philippine textiles, and has started the usage trend of such textiles in the halls of Congress. Legarda is also an organic eater, growing the vegetables, fruits, and grains that she eats at her backyard.