By Liza Soriano
MANILA — Senator Loren Legarda has been awarded a “Commendatore” to the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in appreciation of her role in strengthening bilateral relations between the Philippines and Italy.
On January 18, 2023, in the ambassador’s residence in Makati City, Legarda received the award from Marco Clemente, the Italian ambassador to the Philippines.
“It is immensely an honor to receive the prestigious Order of Merit from the Italian Republic. I am extremely grateful to the Italian Republic, President Sergio Mattarella, to my good friend Pier Ferdinando Casini, and to His Excellency Marco Clemente and everyone else involved with this recognition,” Legarda said as she received the award.
Legarda stressed the value of the Philippines and Italy’s cooperation as both countries endeavor to deepen their connections as crucial allies in the global arena.
She claimed that the two nations have similar aspirations and pastimes, such as a love of good food, a rich culture, a passion for the arts, and a history of strong family ties and close-knit neighborhoods.
In 2015, the Philippines was able to return to the Venice Biennale after a fifty-one-year hiatus through Legarda’s initiative in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
“This is the best example of how cultural exchanges are not merely a way to showcase and promote culture. Our participation in Venice has forged a deep relationship because each year we exchange ideas, we have meaningful discourses and we have new experiences together,” Legarda said.