Senators were saddened by the passing of former Senator Heherson Alvarez who succumbed to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Monday, April 20, 2020. Alvarez was 80 years old.

Senate President Tito Sotto said he mourned the passing of a “respectable leader and a good friend,” who he had the opportunity to work with when he first joined the Senate in 1992.

“I feel more pain with his loss as I and the rest of my colleagues at the Senate and our counterparts at the House of Representatives cannot even give him the proper recognition and reverence due to a former member of Congress, given that his passing comes during this time when the country is gripped by this infectious, fatal virus and a necrological ceremony cannot possibly be held,” Sotto said.

“His name will forever be etched in the country’s history.”

The veteran legislator said Alvarez’s legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of the people and that his name will forever be etched in the country’s history.

The Senate has been flying its flag at half-mast as a symbol of mourning for the passing of Alvarez.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto recalled Alvarez’s soft heart for the common people. He said Alvarez spent a lifetime championing their rights and freedom.

As Alvarez’s colleague during the 11th Congress in the House of Representative, Recto said the late senator crafted policies and defended them on the floor with a skill of a seasoned parliamentarian and the undiminished passion of a patriot.

“He spent his last years representing one client – Mother Earth.”

“He spent his last years representing one client – Mother Earth – so that our grandchildren will have clean air, safe water, blue skies. He was no longer a politician with the next election in mind, but a statesman concerned about the next generation,” the veteran legislator said.

Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri said he was saddened by the death of “one of the original environment advocates.”

“The Senate has lost another pillar of its rich history, and the saddest part is that we will not be able to properly honor him befitting an honorable statesman due to the COVID-19 protocols which prevents us from doing so,” Zubiri said.

The veteran legislator said the Senate will sponsor and adopt a resolution honoring Alvarez once Congress resumes the plenary session on May 4.

Born in Santiago Isabela on October 26, 1939, Alvarez served as senator from 1987 to 1998. He also served in the House of Representative, was a secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resouces and became the first secretary of Agrarian Reform in 1986.

Alvarez studied Liberal Arts at the University of the Philippines (UP) and earned his Master’s Degree in Economics and Public Administration from Harvard University.

He was a recipient of the UP Outstanding Alumnus award.

Alvarez was one of the youngest delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. He opposed the Marcos administration and was a recipient of the Outstanding Human Rights Award by the Fund for Free Expression in New York.

He founded the Earth Savers Movement and authored the resolution declaring April 22 as “Earth Day.”  Alvarez was the first Asian to be honored with the Outstanding Public Policy Achievement Award from the prestigious Washington-based Climate Institute.

He authored the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the centerpiece program of the Aquino administration, and the Law Creating the Department of Energy which was the basic instrument of the Ramos administration in solving the brownouts in 1993.


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