Ambassador Willy C. Gaa.  (Philippine Embassy photo)

Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter

Former Philippine ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa is dead at 69.

He died in Manila from a lingering illness.

This was learned from Wendell Gaa, the late ambassador’s son, in a Facebook posting on Dec. 8.

Gaa was in the foreign service of the Philippines for 36 years.

He retired as ambassador to the U.S. in 2011 after serving in that post for five years.

It was during Gaa’s tenure in Washington, D.C. that the World War II Veterans Equity Law was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009.

He also coordinated the approval of the Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2010, which provided enormous financial help for Filipinos back home.

In a statement on the passing of the late ambassador, present Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said, “It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Ambassador Willy Gaa. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gaa family during this time of loss and sorrow. On this sad occasion, we recall the ambassador’s long and dedicated service to our country and to the Filipino people. Ambassador Gaa’s professionalism and tireless efforts to advance the interests of the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora community will continue to inspire the work of the Philippine Embassy and Consulates General across the United States.”

The late diplomat had also been assigned as Philippine envoy to China and Australia.

He was formerly Philippine ambassador to Tripoli, Libya and non-resident ambassador to Tunisia, Malta and Niger (1992-1997).

He was consul general in New York (1997-1999); deputy consul general in Los Angeles (1987-1990); consul in New York (1981-1985) and vice consul, subsequently consul, in San Francisco (1975-1980).

The late ambassador represented the Philippines in various United Nations conferences, as well as multilateral and regional meetings, seminars and training.

He served as adviser of the Philippine Delegation to the 36th and 53rd United Nations General Assemblies (1981 and 1998, respectively).

He attended several ASEAN Senior Officials meetings and various bilateral dialogue meetings as member of the Philippine Delegation.

Gaa obtained his bachelor of arts (A.B. political science) degree from Manuel L. Quezon University in 1966.

He graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1970 with a bachelor of laws degree and from New York University in 1985 with a degree in master of laws (international legal studies).

He passed the government career service exam in 1968, the Philippine Bar Examination in 1970 and the State Bar of California, U.S.A. in 1990.

His previous legal work experience was as tax and compliance attorney at Petrophil Corporation (1974-1975) and as trial attorney at the Office of the Solicitor General (1971-1974).

For his long and dedicated service to government and country, Gaa was presented with the Gawad Sentenaryo (Centennial Award) in 1999 by the National Centennial Commission and the Distinguished Service Award in 2000 by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Gaa, a native of Looc, Romblon, was married to Erlinda Concepcion, with whom he had two sons, Wendell and Warren.

The Filipino Reporter learned from Wendell the following wake and funeral schedule:

Viewing from Dec. 10 to 14.

Interment: Dec. 15.

Rizal Room, Paz-Sucat, Manila Memorial Park, Sucat, Parañaque.

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