Former Senator Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez passed away Monday, three weeks after contracting the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The death of Alvarez, who was 80 years old, was confirmed by son, Hexilon, and former Senator Joey Lina.
Alvarez served in the Senate from 1987 to 1998 and was chair of the Senate Committee on Environment for 10 years.
He later served as 4th district representative of Isabela from 1998 to 2001.
Alvarez also served as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said it “grieves” him to learn of the news of Alvarez’s death.
“He was a fighter! It was an honor for me to have served with him in the 9th Congress. Marami din akong natutunan sa kanya (I also learned a lot from him),” he said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of one of the “Original Environmentalist” advocates of the Philippine Senate.
He noted that Alvarez was the author of many of the country’s environmental laws as well as one of our most ardent fighters against climate change.
Among the landmark measures championed by Alvarez in Congress included, among others, the Clean Air Act (RA 8479) and the Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003).
Zubiri added that Alvarez was also known as a “Human Rights advocate,” who has often stood on the Senate floor “defending our basic human rights embodied in our Constitution”.
“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,” he said.
“But on our reopening on May 4 we will sponsor and adopt a Senate Resolution to honor such a statesman. Let us not forget such a great environmentalist and Climate Change advocate for all of time,” Zubiri said. (PNA)