Del Rosario ‘like Moses,’ friends, associates recall
HE WAS likened to Moses for leading thousands of overseas Filipino workers through the deserts of war-torn countries in the Middle East in 2011, 36 hours after taking his oath as the Philippines’ top diplomat.
On Friday, during a meeting of business leaders and diplomats, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario was given a standing ovation amid rousing applause in honor of his five-year leadership of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Del Rosario, 76, formally stepped down as the country’s chief diplomat, giving way to his successor, Jose Rene Almendras.
Del Rosario announced his resignation last month, citing health issues.
“Like Moses, he led thousands of our countrymen overseas in the deserts of Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia and Yemen back to the safety of their homes,” Ramon del Rosario, chair of the Makati Business Club, said in a luncheon jointly organized by the MBC, American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Finex, Management Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Philip Romualdez, president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, described Del Rosario as the “most admired and respected” official in the government.
He recounted a business trip to the United States in September 2015 where Del Rosario joined the Philippine business delegation in a meeting with US officials in Washington.
Del Rosario was in New York to attend the general assembly of the United Nations.
A week later, Romualdez ran into Del Rosario in Milan, Italy.
“I was still groggy from jet lag, while he had gone to five other countries in the week between,” Romualdez said.
Businessmen noted Del Rosario’s dedication to OFWs, who to him, Romualdez said, were not just statistics.
Ayala Corp.’s Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala cited Del Rosario’s efforts to help Filipino on death row Mary Jane Veloso, who was granted a reprieve by the Indonesian government.
“Out of his personal resources he established a scholarship fund for the children of Veloso,” Zobel said.
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