A glimpse of our commencement speaker
Senator Loren B. Legarda was born in Malabon, Metro Manila to a family of newsmen, educators, physicians, and public servants. She is the eldest and only girl in the family of three children of Antonio Cabrera Legarda and Bessie Gella Bautista, and was raised by an Ilocana “yaya” whom she fondly calls Nanay.
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.
Sen. Legarda graduated valedictorian in elementary and completed her secondary schooling with honors at the Assumption Convent. She obtained a degree in broadcast communications and graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines.
While working as a broadcast journalist, she 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. She is a reserve officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Loren is the only female senator who topped the Senate race twice, and the only woman to become Senate majority leader. She was chiefly responsible for the passage of 23 laws which she authored and co-authored, among many vital pieces of legislation. She chairs the Committees on Finance, Climate Change, and Cultural Communities.
She advocates for quality human living harmonious with nature by seeking the path to green growth and sustainable development for nations, and challenging world leaders to help save the planet and preserve humankind.
As the Philippines’ foremost advocate of green development, Sen. Legarda worked for the enactment of laws on environmental governance such as the Clean Air Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, the Climate Change Act and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act.
She spearheaded an information and education campaign on climate change and produced films that sought to explain the science of climate change, its impact on our everyday lives and how Filipinos can avert and adapt to the changing climate.
For her contribution in protecting the environment and pushing for climate change adaptation policies, the University of the Philippines (UP) chose her as its 2013 Distinguished Alumna for Environmental Protection and Climate Change Adaptation.
Sen. Legarda also places special interest in protecting the rights and 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.
She 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.
Prior to becoming a public official, Sen. Legarda was well-known as the award-winning anchor and producer of two of the Philippines’ most popular and respected news programs. As her television career advanced, however, she found herself interested, more and more, in finding solutions to the problems she was reporting on.
As a journalist, she earned prestigious awards such as the Ten Outstanding Young Men from the Philippine Jaycees (1992), the Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service 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.