New ‘No. 1’ sculpture symbolizing legislator’s roles unveiled at Batasan

Mara Cepeda
New ‘No. 1’ sculpture symbolizing legislator’s roles unveiled at Batasan


The 10-foot steel artwork is by Filipino visual artist Joe Datuin

MANILA, Philippines – Visitors of the House of Representatives will now see a new statue at the Batasang Pambansa complex: the 10-foot steel “No. 1” by Filipino visual artist Joe Datuin.

The new sculpture in front of the House’s Legislative Library, Archives, and Museum building was officially unveiled to the public by Datuin, outgoing Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and House acting secretary-general Roberto Maling on Thursday, June 13.

The sculpture contains “elements that connote a legislator’s salient roles,” while its No. 1 shape serves as a “visual reminder that excellence in legislation ensues when interest of the Filipino people is regarded foremost priority.”

Speaking to reporters, Arroyo said the “No. 1” will become part of the heart and soul of the House of Representatives. 

“A country has to have soul and heart. That’s part of our soul and heart, having artwork in the grounds,” said Arroyo.

Datuin’s other artworks are currently displayed at the South Wing lobby of Batasan. The artist himself toured Arroyo around the exhibit on Thursday afternoon.

In 2008, Datuin won the grand prize in the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Art Contest of the Beijing Olympics.

The National Parks Development Committee and Hyundai Asia Resources later commissioned him to create monumental sculptures and mosaic art at Rizal Park in Manila.  

In 2009, Datuin received the Ani ng Dangal Award from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.