MANILA - The House of Representatives on Thursday paid tribute to Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ciriaco Calalang who passed away earlier this week due to a stroke.
The Plenary Hall was adorned with flowers as lawmakers gathered for a mass and a necrological service for Calalang.
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who first worked with Calalang when she was Social Welfare Secretary under the Estrada administration, described the late lawmaker as an "active child rights" advocate.
"Attorney Calalang was one of my volunteer lawyers because he was active in child rights advocacy," Arroyo said.
"In behalf of a grateful Congress, I express our sincerest condolences to Congressman Calalang’s bereaved family lalong lalo na 3 pamangkin na inampon niya," she said.
Calalang adopted the children after their father, who was Labor Department employee, was ambushed, the House Speaker said.
"'Yung mga bata – 3 years old, 3 months old and 1 month in the mother’s womb. Napakaliit pa, pero kinuha ni Cong. Calalang, siya ang nagpalaki sa kanina kaya tunay na tunay na anak sila at tunay na tunay na 'yun ang dahilan kung bakit he became a champion for children’ rights," she said.
Arroyo also thanked Calalang for being among the first to sign a manifesto in July that named her as the new House Speaker.
Calalang served as a legislator for less than a year before his untimely death.
He was sworn into office in January 2018 to take over the seat of former Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque who transferred to the executive branch as Presidential Spokesperson.
"In the barely 8 months that Congressman 'Acoy' Calalang worked in the House of Representatives, he filed 10 bills and 8 House resolutions," Arroyo said.
Among Calalang's bills were measures the sought to create the Department of Disaster Resilience and the declaration of the National Youth Day every August 12.
- with reports from RG Cruz and Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News