“This is a sad day; the country has lost one of the legislators who helped rebuild Philippine democracy after the Edsa Revolution––an outspoken lawmaker who was one of the first Filipino leaders to fight for the protection of the environment.”
This according to House Minority Leader Benny Abante Jr., who on Monday extended his prayers and sympathies to the family of former Senator Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez, who passed away after succumbing to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“When the environmental cause was in its infancy, Sen. Alvarez was one of its most ardent champions.”
“Senator Alvarez distinguished himself by being a fearless leader who championed causes that needed to be fought, regardless of the odds or the popularity of the advocacy,” said Abante, who credited Alvarez for being one of the first who opposed the Marcos dictatorship and one of the few constitutional delegates who refused to sign the 1971 Constitution.
According to Abante, Alvarez would continue to “fight the good fight” when he was elected to the first post-Edsa Revolution Senate, where he was considered the father of the Land Reform Law as the primary author of Republic Act No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law––a centerpiece program of the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino that provided for the equitable distribution of land to landless farmers.
Abante also stressed that the environment had lost a steadfast ally in Alvarez, who after stints in the Legislature was later appointed Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the first head of the Climate Change Commission.
“When the environmental cause was in its infancy in the country, Sen. Alvarez was one of its most ardent champions,” said the solon.
Abante pointed out that Alvarez “was a key figure in the signing of the Healthy Air Pact, an agreement voluntarily entered into by the three major oil companies that paved the way for the reduction of the lead content in gasoline, the reduction of the sulfur content of diesel, and eventually for the introduction of unleaded gasoline in February 1994.”
“I condole with the family of the late Sen. Alvarez and will pray that the Lord give them strength in these trying times.”