Richard Gordon

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Richard “Dick” Juico Gordon Sr. (born 5 August 1945) is a Filipino lawyer, businessman, lecturer, speaker and politician who is currently serving as a Senator since 2016. He is also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine Red Cross since 2004. He filed his candidacy for reelection through his lawyer Inky Reyes on 8 October 2021.

He was the youngest delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. He also served as Mayor of Olongapo from 1980 to 1986 and from 1988 to 1993.

He was the Founding Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and he conceptualized the WOW Philippines campaign when he was Secretary of the Department of Tourism from 2001 to 2004.

Gordon is married to Katherine Gordon. They have four children: Marnie, Ali, LJ, and Brian.


Early Life and Education

He was born on 5 August 1945 was born in Castillejos, Zambales to James Leonard Gordon and Amelia Gordon. James is a half-American local politician who was the Mayor of Olongapo when it was converted from a municipality to a city. Amelia was the Mayor of Olongapo from 1967 to 1972.

He studied at the Lourdes Catholic School in Quezon City and Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila City. He finished high school at the Ateneo de Manila University. It is also where he earned his Bachelor of Arts major in History and Government Degree in 1966.

He served as brand manager for Procter and Gamble Philippines from 1966 to 1967. He also helped his mother run the government of Olongapo when his father was assassinated.

He pursued a Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of the Philippines College of Law (UPCL) in 1975, where he became a member of Upsilon Sigma Phi. He became an associate for ACCRA Law Offices in 1975.


Career

While studying at UP in 1971, he was elected as delegate of the 1st District of Zambales to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. He was the youngest delegate in the convention.

He ran as Mayor of Olongapo City in 1980. Olongapo became a highly urbanized ciy in 1983 as Gordon led the innovations such as color coded transport system, public markets' expansion, integrated solid waste management program, vendors' cooperatives, community organizations and many other public and community development programs.

Gordon joined then Vice President Salvador Laurel in reorganizing the Nacionalista Party in 1986. In 1988, he was reelected as Mayor. In 1993, Gordon’s dual duty as Olongapo Mayor and Chairman of SBMA. As the Supreme Court (SC) decided that Gordon must hold one position, he decided to vacate his position as Mayor and assumed the post of SBMA Chairman. In 1995, his wife Katherine, a three-term Congresswoman, was elected Mayor of Olongapo.

In the 1996 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit held in Subic, 18 world leaders were impressed and Subic became a new investment hub in Southeast Asia. International companies invested USD 2.1 billion in the freeport which reinvigorated the economy and created 70,000 jobs and replaced those lost during the withdrawal of the US Navy.

When then President Joseph Estrada removed Gordon as SBMA Chair and appointed Felicito Payumo. Hundreds of Gordon’s supporters barricaded SBMA gates and Gordon locked himself inside the SBMA Administrative Office Building. He filed a temporary restraining order before the local court. With the SC decision, Gordon turned over the reins of SBMA to Payumo.

In 1987, Gordon was elected as Governor of the Philippine National Red Cross and took active roles in rescue, relief, and rehabilitation in various disasters. He is Chairman and a Member of the Governing Board of the International Federation of the Red Cross.

In 2001, he actively participated in the 2nd EDSA Revolution that led to the removal of Joseph Estrada from presidency. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed him as Secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

As DOT Secretary, he actively marketed the Philippines in tourism expositions and road shows with the WOW Philippines campaign strategy. He also encouraged domestic tourism by holding regional events and having provincial destinations showcased. He served as DOT Secretary until January 2004.

Gordon was elected as Senator in 2004 and served as Chairman of the Senate Committee of Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Laws. He opposed Constituent Assembly or “con-ass”. He pushed for the preservation of the separation of powers in government and asserted the Senate’s constitutional right and duty to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation. Gordon was also responsible for the passage of RA 9369 or the Automated Elections System, the Tourism Act, and the creation of economic zones such as the Poro Point Freeport inLa Union, the Freeport Area of Bataan in Mariveles, and Camp John Hay in Baguio.

He also led the investigation of the 2004 Php 728-Million Fertilizer Fund Scam and the assailed NBN-ZTE deal National Broadband Contract as Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

He ran for President in 2010 and for Senate in 2013 but lost. He was reelected as Senator in 2016 and serves as Chair of the Blue Ribbon, Committee on Justice and Human Rights as well as Government Owned and Controlled Corporations.

He is seeking Senate reelection in the 2022 elections. He filed his certificate of candidacy (COC), through his lawyer on 8 October 2021. He has been involved in a recent word war with President Rodrigo Duterte, who was irked in the ongoing investigation on the government’s purchase of allegedly overpriced medical supplies amidst the pandemic.

Gordon advocates for responsibility to self, to the Filipinos, and the country; reinvention of government; fortification of law and order through self-discipline, vigilance, and respect for the rule of law; building of strong and growing economy; prioritization of education; provision of adequate access to health care; creation of jobs; strengthening and reinforcement of the family as the foundation of the nation; and protection and preservation of the environment for posterity.


Affiliations

  • International Red Cross/Red Crescent Federation, elected to the Governing Board (2005-present)
  • Pacific Asia Travel Association, Member and past Chairman for 2003-2004
  • World Tourism Organization, Commissioner for East Asia and the Pacific (2001-2004)
  • Philippine National Red Cross, Chairman and CEO (2004-present)
  • Boys Scouts of the Philippines, Chairman - James L. Gordon Council
  • U.P. Alumni Association, Chairman – Olongapo Chapter
  • Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Full Member
  • Upsilon Sigma Phi Alumni Association, Member
  • Ateneo de Manila University Alumni Association, Director
  • Presidential Bases Conversion Committee, Member
  • Citizen's Legal Aid Society of the Philippines, Member
  • Party for Philippine Progress, Training Committee Youth Arm, National Chairman (1966)
  • Bagumbayan-Volunteers for a New Philippines, Founding Chairman (1997)

Business Affiliations

  • Co-founder, Mt. Pinatubo Hidden Temple Shrine and Community Foundation Inc.
  • Co-founder, Olongapo City Foundation Inc.
  • Co-founder, James L. Gordon Foundation Inc.
  • Founding chairman, Bagumbayan-Volunteers for a New Philippines

Awards and Recognition

  • Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM)
  • The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL)
  • University of the Philippines’ Most Outstanding Alumnus in Public Service
  • UP’s Most Distinguished Alumnus
  • Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency’s Lifetime National Volunteer Achievement Award
  • Aurora Aragon Quezon Medal
  • Silver Humanitarian Service Cross Award
  • Gold Humanitarian Service Cross Award
  • Japanese Red Cross Gold Humanitarian Award
  • Asiaweek ’s Twenty Great Asians of the Future
  • Asahi Shimbun ’s 50 Young Leaders of Asia


References


Citation

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