‘Champion of PH sovereignty:' Lawmakers pay tribute to ex-DFA chief Del Rosario | Inquirer News

‘Champion of PH sovereignty:’ Lawmakers pay tribute to ex-DFA chief Del Rosario

/ 01:54 PM April 18, 2023

albert del rosario

Former Foreign Affairs Sec. and Stratbase ADR Institute Chairman Ambassador Albert Del Rosario during the”Framework Code of Conduct, One Year After Arbitration” forum held in Manila Polo Club, Makati City in 2017.

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers led by Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez paid tribute to former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario who died on Tuesday, calling him a staunch defender of the country’s sovereignty.

Romualdez said that the Philippines just lost a humble public servant who staunchly defended the country’s sovereignty and who will be best remembered for his “strong and consistent defense of territorial waters and features and resources” within the West Philippine Sea (WPS).


“Our country has just lost a consummate diplomat, a humble and conscientious public servant and civilian, and a staunch and passionate defender of national sovereignty,” the House leader said in a statement.


“Our thoughts and prayers go to his loved ones, friends, associates, colleagues in government, and most especially to his family, at this most difficult time,” he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th District Rep. Ralph Recto said that del Rosario’s time at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) showed that there was no better defender of the overseas Filipino workers’ (OFWs) welfare than the former top diplomat.

“There was no better advocate of Philippine interest, no braver defender of our OFWs, no bolder champion of our sovereignty than him when he was the Republic’s top diplomat,” Recto said in a statement.

“He was eloquent in speech and refined in manners. Whether it was to cooperate with governments or contest their actions, he articulated our position in a convincing but dignified way, earning for him the admiration of peers and for the country the respect of nations,” he added.

Majority Floor Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe likewise remembered del Rosario for his role in protecting the Philippine interests in the WPS, by using the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“My deepest condolences to the family of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. I have known Secretary Del Rosario as a true champion of our democracy and sovereignty having been one of one of the prime movers of our bid to secure the position of the UNCLOS in relation to our claims in the West Philippine Sea,” Dalipe said.


“While we have differed on many national issues, I have always admired Secretary del Rosario for being a genuine statesman and a true Filipino patriot,” he added.

Earlier, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. France Castro also extended her condolences to the bereaved family of del Rosario.

“Sec. del Rosario was among those most vocal and firmly committed to defend our claim to the West Philippine Sea (WPS), his stand on this issue must be followed by the current foreign secretary and the Marcos administration,” Castro said in a separate statement.

“Hindi dapat ibenta ang interes ng Pilipinas at mga Filipino sa Tsina man o sa US. Dapat ang interes ng ating bayan ang una hindi ng sa dayuhan,” she added.

(The interest of the Philippines and Filipinos must not be sold to China or the United States.  The interests of our country should be considered first and foremost rather than those of foreigners.)

It was del Rosario’s family who announced his passing on Tuesday. He was 83.

“The family of Ambassador Albert Ferreros del Rosario is deeply saddened to announce his passing today, April 18, 2023.  He was 83. The family requests privacy during this difficult time,” she said.

READ: Ex-DFA chief Albert del Rosario dies at 83 

Aside from manning the DFA’s top post from 2011 to 2016 during the time of late former president Benigno S. Aquino III, del Rosario also used to be the Philippine Ambassador to the United States from 2001 to 2006.

Under del Rosario’s watch, the Philippines elevated its West Philippine Sea intrusion complaints against China to an international court — leading to a historic and landmark decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in 2016, where the Philippines’ claims were favored.

READ: PH wins arbitration case over South China Sea 

After Aquino’s term, del Rosario and other staunch advocates of the PCA ruling, like retired senior associate justice Antonio Carpio were criticized by former president Rodrigo Duterte for fretting over a supposed piece of paper.

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READ: Duterte vs Carpio, Del Rosario: From debate dare to threat of hanging 

TAGS: Del Rosario, House, lawmakers, solons, tribute

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