Armida Siguion-Reyna dies at 88; Palace offers condolences

SINGER-actress and film producer Armida Siguion-Reyna died of cancer Monday, February 11, at the Makati Medical Center. She was 88.Her brother, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, asked the public

SINGER-actress and film producer Armida Siguion-Reyna died of cancer Monday, February 11, at the Makati Medical Center. She was 88.

Her brother, former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, asked the public Monday, February 11, not to forget her, saying she has contributed a lot to the show business industry.

"Ang hinihingi ko lang sa mga Pilipino -- lalo na sa kabataan -- ay na 'wag na 'wag niyo siyang kalimutan... Malaki ang kanyang naging kontribusyon sa larangan ng showbiz at isinulong niya ang wika natin sa kanyang mga kanta. Ipinagmalalaki ko na naging tanyag siya," he said in a statement.

(I ask all the Filipinos -- especially the youth -- not to forget her...She had contributed a lot to the showbiz industry and she promoted the Filipino language through her songs. I am proud that she became a known artist.)

Anna Cristina Siguion-Reyna Villonco, granddaughter of Armida, said in a Facebook post Tuesday that the family will hold the wake and memorial services at the Heritage Memorial Park, at 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. from Tuesday, February 12 until Friday, February 15.

"Please join us in celebrating her life. We request you to bring your thoughts, prayers and fondest memories of Armida. Thank you for your messages of condolence," she said.

Malacañang on Tuesday, February 12, also mourned the death of Siguion-Reyna, saying she made "immense" contribution to the music, television, and film industries.

With Siguion-Reyna's passing, the entertainment industry "has lost one of its pillars," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press conference.

Panelo made the remark as the Palace condoled with Siguion-Reyna's family, as well as with the Enriles.

"The Palace expresses its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the former Movie and Television Review Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Armida Siguion-Reyna," the Palace official said.

"Our condolences also go to the Enriles. She happened to be the sister of former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. The Philippines, particularly the music, television and film industries had been immense in terms of the contribution of the late Armida Siguion-Reyna," he added.

Panelo recalled that he, as well as "many others of [his] generation and the succeeding ones," grew up watching television program “Aawitan Kita,” hosted and produced by Siguion-Reyna on television for more than 30 years.

He also acknowledged that Siguion-Reyna's show "popularized kundiman songs," such as "Anak Dalita" and "Dahil Sa'yo," which lately have been aired on radio.

Panelo also noted that in Siguion-Reyna's biographical book, "fear was not in [the] vocabulary" of the late singer-actress.

He said Siguion-Reyna's voice, whether singing kundimans or advocating free expression, "will be missed by many of us so we pray for the eternal repose of her soul and may perpetual light shine upon her."

"If you have witnessed how this woman faced her detractors as well as her critics, immediately you will know that this woman was one who had an independent mind of her own and a principled citizen at that," he said.

"She had demonstrated this kind of character all throughout her career, specifically when she was the chairman of the MTRCB where she defended artistic liberties in cinema," he added. (Ruth Abbey Gita/LMY/SunStar Philippines)