Press Release
August 14, 2023

Senate approves bill renaming Agham, BIR Roads after Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

The Senate approved on third and final reading a bill renaming Agham Road and the BIR Road in Quezon City after the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Voting unanimously, senators present at the plenary hearing, Monday, August 14, 2023, approved on final reading House Bill No. 7413, also known as "An Act renaming the Agham Road and the BIR Road, stretching from North Avenue, traversing through Quezon Avenue up to East Avenue, all located in Quezon City, as Senator Miriam P. Defensor-Santiago Avenue", taking into consideration Senate Bill Nos. 1888, 2069, 2163 and 2183.

Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros, Sens. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, and Sonny Angara offered tributes and relayed memorable personal experiences with "one of the pillars of the Philippine Senate."

"She has a feisty appearance on TV and she was a very feisty woman, a firebrand of leadership and performance, but in the halls of Congress... she was like a mother to all of us," Zubiri said.

"This honor is a small token of what she should be honored throughout the Philippines. She should be given all the accolades and honors. She was an excellent legislator and an excellent senator," he added.

Defensor-Santiago passed away after a valiant battle with lung cancer last September 2016 at the age of 71.

Defensor-Santiago held positions in all three branches of the Philippine government - judiciary, executive, and legislative. In the judiciary, she served as presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court at Quezon City. In the executive branch, she was an immigration commissioner and an agrarian reform secretary. In the legislative branch, she served as a senator for three terms.

Dubbed the "Iron Lady of Asia" and "Dragon Lady", she welcomed unique challenges in each of her posts in her decorated public service. She was also widely known for her unique and fiery quotations, including the infamous "I eat death threats for breakfast!" remark.

"She has truly left a legacy that, to this day, serves as our guiding light in our quest towards providing our countrymen with the kind of service she has espoused her whole life: public service punctuated by integrity and honor, standing courageously by the line of fire without fear nor bias, and always advocating for the welfare of the people above all else," Revilla, the main sponsor of HBN 7413, said.

Defensor-Santiago, an advocate of global justice, was the first Asian judge elected to the International Criminal Court. Likewise, she was the first Filipino elected as commissioner for the International Development Organization. She also served as Legal Officer at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 1988, Defensor-Santiago was a laureate of the Magsaysay Award for Government Service, known as the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize. She was cited then "for bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency."

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