The Senate has commended Senator Edgardo J. Angara for his appointment to the prestigious Real Academia Hispano Americana de Ciencas, Artes y Letras (Hispano-American Royal Academy of Science, Arts and Letters) based in Cadiz, Spain.
P.S. Resolution No. 750, introduced by Senator Manuel Lapid and co-sponsored by all the Senators present at today's legislative session, congratulates the veteran legislator for being the first Asian to become a Corresponding Academic Member of the academy.
The Royal Academy was established in 1909 to promote cultural ties between Spain and Hispanic nations in Latin America. No less than King Juan Carlos I is its Honorary President. It has Corresponding Academic Members from Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Czech Republic and the USA. Angara is the first from the region to be accorded with the honor.
"Senator Edgardo Javier Angara's illustrious career as a public servant and a legislator were marked with significant achievements, having fathered if not the most meaningful and sensible pieces of legislation," reads the Senate resolution.
"This recognition adds to the swelling number of achievements of the illustrious career of this public servant who has made himself known to be a leader who has inspired so many, a learned scholar of righteous principles, a gentleman who seeks only what is right, and a warrior for meaningful reforms."
Sen. Joker Arroyo took the floor to congratulate Angara. "The honor that Sen. Angara has earned is an honor to the Philippines. And the wonder of it all is that Sen. Angara doesn't even speak Spanish. But that he has been elected to the academy is the measure of really what he has achieved in promoting Philippine-Spanish relations. We should congratulate him and be proud of him."
Angara admitted that he does not speak Spanish but not for a lack of interest--he feels he does not have the linguistic skill to master it. But he emphasized that he never allowed the language to be a hindrance in revitalizing ties with Spain.
Angara recalled that Carlos P. Romulo, former President of the United Nations General Assembly, once told him that it was easier then to push for the interests of the country in the international body with the support of the Ibero-American Alliance.
"Unfortunately those ties weakened more than ten years ago," explained Angara, "so I told myself I'd like to work on restoring those connections.
"We need the support of other Ibero-American nations to regain our standing in the international community," he emphasized.
Angara, a noted champion of the relations between the Philippines and the Hispanic nations, was recognized by the academy for his initiatives such as the Philippine-Spanish Friendship day celebrated every June 30th and the UNESCO-supported observance of the international Dia del Galeon.
He was also cited as an outstanding academic, a respected intellectual and a strong advocate of the development of education, culture and the arts, having served as the President of the University of the Philippines from 1981 to 1987, and now Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.
He was also instrumental in the creation of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Museum, among many landmark laws.
Angara was previously awarded Spain's Premio Casa Asia in 2010, making him the first Southeast Asian to win the foreign policy prize. He is also the official representative of the Philippines to the Unión Latina, an organization consisting of 37 member-nations of the neo-Latin languages.