The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) mourns the passing of one of the pillars of Philippine legislation and a great supporter of the arts and culture sector, Senator Edgardo J. Angara.

The longest-serving senator in post-Edsa Philippines, Angara has authored and helped in the passage of significant laws in many fields and sectors. But his shining achievements are his invaluable and impactful contributions to Philippine arts and culture.

Foremost among these, Sen. Angara has been instrumental in the creation of the NCCA Law (R. A. 7356). He also helped institutionalize the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan or the National Living Treasures Award in 1992, recognizing the outstanding achievements of Filipino traditional craftsmen, artisans and folk artists.

Angara also pushed for the National Museum Act in 1998 to strengthen the institution and assure it a permanent home. He rekindled historical ties between Spain and the Philippines with the establishment of the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day.

Through the National Cultural Heritage Act (RA 10066), Angara helped advance the cause of our national patrimony, enabling the tangible and intangible heritage to benefit from protection, conservation, and promotion. The law also mandates the creation of Sentro Rizal, which serves as a repository of Philippine heritage as well as our cultural legacies in other countries.

For these pioneering efforts, the NCCA in 2013 bestowed the Dangal ng Haraya award, the agency’s highest honor, for his patronage of arts and culture. The NCCA will always regard Sen. Angara with gratitude, great respect and admiration.

Angara believed in strengthening the Filipino soul and identity and thus persevered in including arts and culture in national legislation and bringing them closer to the people, which are indeed heroic acts.