Senator Loren Legarda is inaugurated as Senator of the Republic of the Philippines for the fourth time, capping a career in public service that spans more than two decades.
“Today marks my 22nd year as your lawmaker. I stand honored and proud before you to accept my mandate once again, to be your Senator for the 4th time,” Legarda noted in her inaugural speech.
The fourth-term Senator recently ended her term as Congresswoman of the Lone District of Antique, having “served Antique precisely when the world was stricken by a global health crisis that exacted an enormous economic toll on humanity.”
Despite the crippling consequences of the pandemic, the Senator reported that “the past 3 years have also been the best years in Antique, where countless jobs were created and people were cared for in every respect, something never experienced in a very long time.”
Legarda will serve as Senator of the 19th Congress, determined for the country to recover from the afflictions of the last few years, the twin crises of climate change and the pandemic.
“Trabaho at kabuhayan. Ito ang dapat nating patuloy na isulong lalo na’t hindi pa tapos ang ating laban sa kasalukuyang pandemya at sa krisis ng klima. Kasama rin sa ating isusulong ay ang pagpasa ng One Tablet, One Student Act na makatutulong sa ating mga mag-aaral na harapin ang pandemya ngayon, at ang isang batas hinggil sa kabuhayan na naglalayong i-institutionalize ang lahat ng mga programa ng gobyerno na nagsusulong ng livelihood,” Legarda said.
She noted that there is the need to translate laws, programs, and policies into tangible benefits for the nation, extending government assistance to the farthest reaches: the countryside; the grassroots; the poorest of the poor; and the most vulnerable.
The Senator has authored numerous laws aimed at improving the lives of Filipinos, including the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Law (RA 9501), the Philippine Innovation Act (RA 11293), the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (RA 10931), and the Universal Healthcare Act (RA 10606). She is a globally recognized environmental champion, having authored and sponsored laws such as the Clean Air Act (RA 8749), the Clean Water Act (RA 9275), the Environmental Awareness Education Act (RA 9512), the Renewable Energy Act (RA 9513), the Ecological 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 (RA 10174), and the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas (ENIPAS) Law (RA 11038).
In terms of livelihood, the Senator is committed to ensure that the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which account for 99.51% of our nation’s businesses, fully benefit from the MSME Act.
“I have witnessed the untapped possibilities of millions of Filipinos: weavers, entrepreneurs, indigenous communities, and cultural creatives. There is so much potential for growth in our rural areas. We need to expand our reach to include local entrepreneurs and indigenous communities and ensure that everyone benefits from government programs such as the MSME Law.”
The Senator would also like to promote green jobs and green skills in the country, encouraging people to engage in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, information technology, creative industries, and other careers that contribute to environmental and cultural preservation.
With regard to health, Senator Legarda lamented the inequity of the health system, declaring: “We need the full implementation of the Universal Health Care Act. The Law was passed in 2019 and yet Filipinos are still desperately trying to gain access to the assistance intended for them.”
Legarda topped previous senatorial elections twice, first in 1998 and second in 2007, and got the second highest votes in 2013. She was also the only female senator who served as senate majority leader. In this year’s elections, the Senator was elected by an overwhelming 24,264,969 Filipinos, garnering the second highest number of votes.
“I am humbled by the overwhelming mandate I have received from more than 24.2 million people, and I am overflowing with gratitude. Like the past twenty-four years, I will carry and keep ablaze the torch of unity, reform, and good governance alongside the new leadership,” Legarda concluded.