During ceremonies held on July 13, 2017 at the Italian Ambassador’s residence in Makati City, the President of the Republic of Italy, thru His Excellency Ambassador Massimo Roscigno, bestowed upon Senator Loren Legarda the award of Cavaliere nell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Knight in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic).
Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and an advocate of arts and culture, is the visionary behind the Philippines’ return to the Venice Biennale after a 51-year absence.
Ambassador Roscigno said, “In a way, I would like to see this as a form of thanking the Senator for bringing the Philippines back to the Venice Biennale.”
“Senator Legarda was decisive in bringing again, after half a century of no participation, the Philippines to the biennale of contemporary art of Venice in 2015, as well as the biennale architecture in 2016, and again in the contemporary art biennale of this year, thus, giving a meaningful contribution to the strengthening of the bilateral relations between Italy and the Philippines,” Roscigno added.
The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic is awarded for merit acquired by the nation in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers.
Legarda said in her acceptance speech: “I am truly grateful and humbled; but more importantly, tremendously inspired to live up to the noble principles this award represents.”
It is not the first time that the senator received such an award. In 2016, the French Government bestowed upon Legarda the title of Chevalier dans l’Ordre de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor) for her contribution in strengthening the bilateral ties between Philippines and France, particularly her environmental and cultural advocacies.