In Memorium SFA Albert Del Rosario Sr
Albert F. del Rosario, Sr.
November 14, 1939 – April 18, 2023
The US-Philippines Society joins the Philippines and Filipino Americans in mourning the passing of former Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Sr. Our sincere condolences to his wife, Gretchen, their children and family members. He died at the age of 83, en route to San Francisco, CA.
Dignified, principled, assertive and articulate, Secretary Albert del Rosario, Sr. was a true statesman and admired diplomat. At the helm of the Department of Foreign Affairs, February 23, 2011 – March 7, 2016, Secretary del Rosario, Sr. exercised utmost diplomacy as the Philippines faced acute security challenges in the West Philippine Sea. When diplomatic bilateral engagement with China failed, the Philippine government under President Benigno Aquino III, and initiated by Secretary del Rosario, filed a legal case on January 2013 and won in the Hague International Arbitration Court on July 12, 2016. The landmark decision ruled against China’s claim to historic rights over the South China Sea and is incompatible with the exclusive economic zones provided in the UNCLOS and that harm was done to the marine environment caused by building of artificial islands.
Secretary del Rosario was instrumental in the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in April 2014 between U.S. and PH to operationalize the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, and within the context of the VFA, “to develop their individual and collective capacities to resist armed attack by improving interoperability of the two country’s armed forces, promoting long-term modernization, helping maintain and develop additional maritime security, maritime domain awareness and, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.”
Secretary del Rosario previously served as Philippine Ambassador to the United States, October 2001 to August 2006. He was instrumental in securing U.S. funding assistance, bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism, peace and development in Mindanao, American investments in the business processing operations, and the formation of the PH Friendship Caucus Committee of members of the US House of Representatives . Many members of the Filipino American community in Washington DC remember then Ambassador del Rosario for his support for popular cultural programs including the Philippine Independence Day parade, Philippine Arts, and the Dr. Jose Rizal Youth Awards. In September 2004, Ambassador del Rosario was conferred the Order of Sikatuna, Rank of Datu, by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for his outstanding efforts in promoting foreign relations.
Secretary del Rosario was a respected colleague and dear friend to many directors of the US-Philippines Society, which hosted him in 2014 at a gala dinner event at the New York Stock Exchange. As Secretary of Foreign Affairs, he welcomed the 2015 US-Philippines Board delegation in Manila. On September 25, 2015, Secretary del Rosario met with the US-Philippines Society directors at Sofitel Hotel in New York City to discuss the South China Sea Arbitration case, EDCA, Philippines’ hosting of APEC and more. On January 12, 2016, Society Directors hosted a dinner in honor of the Secretary, for his exemplary leadership and public service and his role in the formation of the US-PH Congressional Friendship Caucus and effective advocacy for strong US-PH ties.
US-PH Society Co-Chair Manuel V. Pangilinan paid tribute to former Secretary del Rosario stating that “the Secretary was deeply respected for his firm commitment to service, especially for our overseas workers, and for forcefully asserting our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.”
Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, Sr. will be missed by many in the United States, the Philippines, and the world.