A public servant extraordinaire

“His memory is etched forever in the hearts and minds of the family and friends whom he loved, and the grateful Filipino people whom he served with utmost dedication and selflessness”

Together with the Filipino nation, I mourn the passing of Ambassador Albert Del Rosario.

Whether in the field of business, diplomacy, or public service, Del Rosario inspired respect and admiration. He was a consummate diplomat, a respected businessman, a public servant extraordinaire — a friend to every Filipino.

As a respected businessman, he chaired the Philippine Stratbase Consultancy and the Makati Foundation for Education.

Del Rosario sat on the board of more than 50 companies in the banking, insurance, real estate, shipping, telecommunications, consumer products, retail, pharmaceutical and food sectors, including, directorships in PLDT Inc., Business World Publishing Corp., First Pacific Co., PT Indofood Sukses Makmur, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Philex Mining Corp., Metro Pacific Tollways Development Corp., Manila North Tollways Corp., ABC Development Corp., Rockwell Land Corp., Cignal TV and TV5 Network

As a diplomat, Ambassador Del Rosario cared deeply for the welfare and protection of Filipinos abroad, especially those in distress.

A defender of national sovereignty and interests, he represented the Philippines in a case against China’s claim of the South China Sea under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He led numerous humanitarian missions to rescue and repatriate Filipinos from conflict zones, disasters, and pandemics.

Del Rosario served as foreign secretary under then President Benigno Aquino III from 2011 to 2016.

In the citation I wrote for the 2018 Ateneo de Manila Traditional University Awards Honorary Degree (Doctor of Humanities), he is heralded for his contributions:

“As foreign affairs secretary, he ‘underscored the economic role of the foreign affairs department and revitalized it through an aggressive promotion of Philippine trade, investments, tourism, and official development assistance, in cooperation with its partner agencies.

‘During his time, more than 205 economic agreements were signed, covering labor, trade, education, tourism and air services from 2010–2016

‘Within the department itself, Secretary del Rosario implemented reforms that strengthened our diplomacy by boosting the morale of the career service corps, increasing their competencies through further training, and reinstituting the merit system, among others.

‘He also emphasized the management approach of leadership by example, rationalized Philippine presence overseas and reallocating resources where these are most needed, strongly encouraged all foreign service personnel to reach beyond their grasp, at all times, to promote the national interest, and brought cost-effective consular services closer to the people by moving DFA offices to malls such as Ayala, Gaisano, Robinsons, SM, and Ali Mall . . .

‘Secretary del Rosario embarked on 151 official missions over the course of five years to advance the three foreign policy pillars of the Philippines: national security, economic diplomacy, protection and promotion of the welfare of Filipinos abroad.’”

Together with retired Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, he expressed the Philippines’ stance against China’s extensive maritime claims in both domestic and global forums.

He asserted the arbitration decision obtained by his team in 2016 has legally safeguarded the country’s extensive exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea for current and future generations of Filipinos.

The Ateneo citation honors him for this:

“If in the end, we will triumph against attempts to undermine our territory and sovereignty, it is because Secretary Del Rosario, with other like-minded Filipinos, stood their ground and drew sharp lines in the seas. Future generations will benefit from their vision and courage.”

An authentic patriot, Ambassador Del Rosario exuded patriotic fervor whether performing official duties or in his personal capacity,

He will be remembered as a true statesman, a man who loved his country, and overall, a great human being.

A dignified and gentlemanly person, he fought indefatigably for his convictions and principles.

He led a purposeful life, in total service to his fellow men so much so that he could say, together with St. Paul his letter to Timothy,” I “have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. . . .”

The Ateneo citation rightly summarized his life: “It is said that a nation has four elements: its people, territory, government, and sovereignty.

“Albert F. Del Rosario has defended and promoted all of these that constitute what we are as a country.

“He took care of Filipinos in the diaspora, defended our territory and sovereignty with passion and discipline, and he worked consistently for a better and more dynamic government bureaucracy.”

Del Rosario joined his Creator on April 18, 2023 while traveling on his way to the United States for a religious pilgrimage.

Surely, he went straight to heaven for living such a life of service and giving.

His memory is etched forever in the hearts and minds of the family and friends whom he loved, and the grateful Filipino people whom he served with utmost dedication and selflessness.

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