Ed’s legacy is cra­dled in the bo­som of a grate­ful na­tion – Sen. Drilon

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH L. TORREGOZA

Past and in­cum­bent se­na­tors on Wed­nes­day flocked to the Se­nate to pay their last re­spects to the late Se­nate Pres­i­dent Edgardo An­gara who died of heart at­tack Sun­day, May 13.

For­mer Pres­i­dents Joseph Estrada now Manila City Mayor, and Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo now Pam­panga rep­re­sen­ta­tive, de­liv­ered eu­lo­gies for their for­mer col­league in the Se­nate dur­ing the 8th, 9th, and 10th Congress.

“Thank you for your ser­vice and your love for the na­tion.

You will be missed not only by me but also those who were touched by your gen­eros­ity and com­mit­ment to serve,” Estrada said.

Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo commended An­gara for craft­ing laws ben­e­fit­ting stu­dents, farm­ers and the poor. “He wore many hats, and he wore it well,” she said.

Ar­royo shared her fa­ther, for­mer Pres­i­dent Dios­dadoMa­ca­pa­galde­scribed the young An­gara, then del­e­gate to the 1971 Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tion “as one of the young pub­lic ser­vants des­tined for a bright po­lit­i­cal fu­ture.”

For­mer Se­na­tor Pia Cayetano now Taguig City rep­re­sen­ta­tive de­liv­ered a teary farewell to the late se­na­tor whom she said helped her fast-track pas­sage of laws on ma­ter­nal and in­fant health, cul­ture and her­itage and ed­u­ca­tion.

Cayetano re­called how An­gara en­cour­aged her to study Span­ish and to strengthen and pre­serve the Philip­pine-Span­ish her­itage.

“We have lost a hum­ble and ded­i­cated states­man, a great teacher, my teacher... and vi­sion­ary,” Cayetano said.

For­mer Se­nate Pres­i­dent Aquilino “Nene” Pi­mentel Jr. like­wise, said in the field of ed­u­ca­tion, An­gara’s track record as a pub­lic ser­vant “stands out over the heads of his peers.”

“I will limit my in­puts here, to only some of the laws into which Ed put his heart, soul, mind and spirit: The cre­ation of the Com­mis­sion on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (CHED); the or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills De­vel­op­ment (TESDA); the en­act­ment of the Free High School Act, and the pas­sage of the Government As­sis­tance to Stu­dents and Teach­ers in Pri­vate Ed­u­ca­tion (GATSPE), which in­ci­den­tally, is said to be the big­gest schol­ar­ship pro­gram of the na­tion,” Pi­mentel pointed out.

“And what was the un­der­ly­ing mes­sage that Ed wanted our peo­ple to know about those knowl­edge-shar­ing es­pousals of his? I sug­gest that Ed wanted our peo­ple to re­al­ize that ed­u­ca­tion is the ‘key to up­ward mo­bil­ity’ that will, in­evitably, lead to the ex­pan­sion of the hori­zons of any­one’s ser­vice and rel­e­vance to the na­tion,” Pi­mentel stressed.

“I guess Ed wanted all our cit­i­zens – and es­pe­cially the poor, the op­pressed, and the marginal­ized – to re­al­ize that to ex­tri­cate them­selves from the clutches of poverty – they must have ac­cess to and make use of ed­u­ca­tion.”

“For once they are freed from the de­hu­man­iz­ing ef­fects of that mis­er­able degra­da­tion, they would also, then, be in a po­si­tion to help oth­ers en­joy fuller lives be­fit­ting hu­man be­ings,” Pi­mentel said.

An­gara’s wife, Glo­ria, his chil­dren Alexan­dria Leia An­gara, Ka­te­rina Glo­ria Lopez-Vito, Anna Ros­alyn An­gara, and Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” An­gara were present at the necro­log­i­cal ser­vice. An­gara’s grand­chil­dren were also present.

Jewel of a friend

For Se­nate mi­nor­ity leader Franklin Drilon, the late Sen. An­gara was a “ma­jor in­flu­ence” in his pro­fes­sional and po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

“It was Ed who in­vited me to join AC­CRA. He con­vinced me that since AC­CRA was a new firm then, it would of­fer big­ger op­por­tu­ni­ties for me. As Ed promised, work­ing in AC­CRA was in­deed an ex­cel­lent ca­reer move,” Drilon said.

“Ed’s pass­ing came as a shock to me as I’m sure it did to most of us here to­day. When I first heard the news, it felt like the rug was pulled out from un­der my feet,” Drilon re­called. Drilon was with An­gara in Ta­gay­tay to­gether with their friends and col­leagues hours be­fore the lat­ter died on Sun­day.

“I am priv­i­leged to have known him, to have laughed, walked and worked with him. It is not easy to bid him farewell, but I find com­fort in the thought that his was a life well-lived. In his life­time, he en­riched many lives, in­clud­ing mine,” Drilon said in his eu­logy.

Even at the ripe age of 83, Drilon said that An­gara still had so many plans for his coun­try, which led him to kid that he needed 100 more years and live up to 183 years old to en­sure they all came to fruition.

“Ed was a jewel of a friend – a man who had my high­est re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion.We were not only fra­ter­nity broth­ers, we also worked to­gether – from AC­CRA to the Se­nate – and shared count­less mile­stones,” he said.

“Our friend­ship tran­scended po­lit­i­cal col­ors and af­fil­i­a­tions, even if some­times, we found our­selves op­pos­ing each other and sit­ting in op­po­site po­lit­i­cal fences. Once he even tried to de­pose me as Se­nate Pres­i­dent. But, the friend­ship re­mained,” said Drilon.

“The im­pact of the laws he au­thored, such as the Free High School Act, the Se­nior Cit­i­zen’s Act, PhilHealth Act and many more, will be deeply felt and ap­pre­ci­ated by gen­er­a­tions of Filipinos,” Drilon noted.

“Our coun­try may have lost one of its bril­liant minds and il­lus­tri­ous sons, but I am cer­tain that Ed’s legacy is cra­dled in the bo­som of a grate­ful na­tion,” he pointed out.

Role model

In a tearful eu­logy for the for­mer Se­nate chief, Se­na­tor Loren Le­garda said An­gara al­ways main­tained a con­nec­tion with the peo­ple de­spite his ster­ling cre­den­tials.

“Maybe be­cause even with all his achieve­ments, he had al­ways con­sid­ered him­self a ‘probin­siyano.’ He dearly loved his home province and its peo­ple, in­clud­ing the Du­ma­gats, the in­dige­nous peo­ple of Aurora,” Le­garda en­thused.

An­gara had deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the in­dige­nous cul­ture bear­ers that led him to cre­ate the National Liv­ing Trea­sures Award, a pres­ti­gious recog­ni­tion for ex­cep­tional tra­di­tional Filipino artists, Le­garda said.

A true pa­tron of the arts and a pas­sion­ate cul­tural worker, An­gara au­thored and spon­sored laws cre­at­ing the National Mu­seum, the National Com­mis­sion on Cul­ture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Cul­tural Her­itage Law.

In ad­dress­ing his col­leagues, Se­nate Pres­i­dent Aquilino “Koko” Pi­mentel III urged younger se­na­tors to look up to An­gara “as a paragon of what a se­na­tor of our Re­pub­lic should be.”

“As a law­maker, the laws he au­thored, spon­sored or sup­ported made a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact in the fields of ed­u­ca­tion, health, so­cial welfare, agri­cul­ture, good gov­er­nance, en­ergy, en­vi­ron­ment, and even cul­tural arts. Name it,and he had con­trib­uted to it,” Pi­mentel said.

“As Se­nate Pres­i­dent, he was in­stru­men­tal in the cre­ation of the Leg­isla­tive-Ex­ec­u­tive De­vel­op­ment Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee or the LEDAC,” he added

“Se­na­tor Edgardo J. An­gara’s life on Earth was never idle. With a de­fin­i­tive sense of pur­pose, this man serve his mis­sion to end, wast­ing no time,” added Pi­mentel.

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Pro Tem­pore Ralph Recto hailed An­gara’s “out­put of laws as en­cy­clo­pe­dic. And the records of this in­sti­tu­tion will bear me out that such is no ex­ag­ger­a­tion.”

And while the rule in the Se­nate is to strut and prance be­fore the pub­lic, Recto said An­gara plod­ded on in si­lence, away from the cam­era lights of tele­vi­sion.

“He never tal­lied ‘likes’, nei­ther did he fuss over ‘shares’. He was more con­cerned with the fine print of the law than the size of head­lines he never chased. If there was one thing he re­lent­lessly pur­sued, it was a record of self­less ser­vice and a score of laws – un­like to­day, when the race is on who can post the most num­ber of selfies,” Recto pointed out.

TRIB­UTE TO FOR­MER COL­LEAGUE – For­mer Se­na­tor Rene Saguisag eu­lo­gizes his for­mer col­league, Edgardo An­gara, dur­ing the necro­log­i­cal ser­vice for the for­mer Se­nate pres­i­dent at the Se­nate ses­sion hall Wed­nes­day. (Czar Dan­cel)

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