Speaker Lord Allan Velasco recently led the House of Representatives in paying tribute to the late Deputy Speaker Ma. Amelita “Girlie” Calimbas-Villarosa during a necrological service held at the session hall inside the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City.
Villarosa died of an aneurysm while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Metro Manila on May 30, the day she marked her 78th birthday.
the lady legislator served as the representative of the lone district of Occidental Mindoro in the 11th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Congresses. She was elected Deputy Speaker during the 14th Congress.
“Villarosa will be forever remembered for her advocacies.”
In his eulogy, Velasco said Villarosa will be forever remembered for her advocacies on women’s rights and issues, rural electrification, decent housing, environmental protection, animal welfare, hospital emergency care, and public health emergency.
The House chief praised Villarosa for strengthening the institution of the Girls Scouts of the Philippines to empower girls of whatever age, and for introducing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or the conditional cash transfer program, which is now one of the government’s landmark poverty alleviation and welfare initiatives.
the veteran legislator also hailed Villarosa as a “tireless advocate for tourism of her beloved province of Occidental Mindoro,” having helped set up the Apo Reef Natural Park and put Apo Reef, the world’s second-largest contiguous coral reef system and the largest in the country, as a top diving destination in the world.
“Smart, motherly, and yet determined and fierce as a tamaraw, Tita Girlie, as Deputy Speaker of the House made sure that the legislative mill of the 13th, 15th, and especially, the 14th Congresses continued to grind, despite any political and economic disorder,” the seasoned lawmaker said.
“She empowered other women legislators to assert their own voices.”
The Speaker added: “A consensus-builder, she coaxed, mentored, and helped lawmakers pass many laws we enjoy today. More importantly, she empowered other women legislators to assert their own voices within these august halls traditionally dominated by strong-willed men.”
Former President and Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Senator Bong Revilla Jr., former Speaker Jose De Venecia Jr., and House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez also delivered their heartwarming eulogies for the late congresswoman.
Towards the end of the necrological service, Velasco presented to the Villarosa family a legislative memorabilia containing House Resolution No. 182, which the chamber adopted before it adjourned sine die on June 2.
Filed by Speaker Velasco, Majority Leader Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano, the resolution expresses the profound condolences of the House to Villarosa’s family and loved ones.
Villarosa’s daughter, Mariliza Villarosa-Kalaw, expressed her gratitude and appreciation to those who extended their condolences to the family, especially their patriarch former Occidental Mindoro Rep. Jose Villarosa. She also thanked the organizers and participants of the necrological service held in honor of her late mother.
House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza acted as the ceremonial officer during the necrological service, which started with a Requiem Mass presided by Rev. Fr. Luciano Felloni.