Senator Dick Gordon’s track record in public service is one for the books.

As Mayor of Olongapo City, he brought order not only to the streets of his city but also to the lives of his people. Mayor Dick Gordon stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Olongapo, shoveling the ashfall, and recovering what was left of their lives. With him at the helm, they rebuilt their city and their lives, later becoming a model city for peace and order, health care, education, livelihood, and good governance.

After the US Military Base closed in November 1992, he inspired and empowered the local population and a fleet of young professionals from here and abroad, and turned Subic Bay into the country’s showcase for economic progress, bringing in billions in investments and creating almost 100,000 jobs. World leaders like Margaret Thatcher, Dr. Mahatir Mohammad, and U.S. President Bill Clinton came to Subic to see the miracle that was the great transformation – and they came away impressed. So with the 18 APEC head of economies during the 4th Leaders’ Summit held thereat.

While he was the author of the success that is the Subic Bay Freeport, a twist of events took him away, but in time brought him towards a call to serve more people, this time as Secretary of Tourism. He knew that tourism was the country’s ticket to development – the fastest way to progress. Through his “Wow Philippines” campaign, the country became well-known abroad, and tourists started coming. Despite the challenges of the times, with the removal from office of the sitting president, the SARS outbreak, the Oakwood mutiny, the Dos Palmas kidnapping, and numerous bombings, not to mention the global terrorism problem, Secretary Gordon kept tourism afloat. In doing so, he lived up to his mantra – “tourism means jobs; where tourism advances, poverty retreats.”

So great was his contribution to the tourism industry that its players begged him not to run for Senator in 2004. But the road has led him to the Philippine Senate, perhaps not the ideal place for a man of action, a man who wants to see results for the people now. Yet, he has distinguished himself as a prolific lawmaker, an advocate of legislation that seek to uplift our people and our country. He is the main author and advocate of an Automated Election System law. Through this system, Senator Gordon hopes to leave our people with elections that are clean, honest, fair, and credible. The Tourism Bill, signed into law recently, is also a result of Senator Gordon’s years of hard work advocating tourism development for our country. He is also the principal author of the Veterans Equity Law. And as Chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee, he has shown that he is one who is never afraid to take a stand on any issue, firm but fair, serious and sincere.

Senator Gordon has held many positions, and succeeded beyond expectation at every single one of them. But I think that the job he loves the most is one that he has held for over forty years – his job as a volunteer of the Philippine National Red Cross. Today, he is its Chairman, and is a Governor of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, but his commitment and dedication to this organization and the work that it does goes far beyond title and position. In fact, in everything that he does, Senator Gordon goes beyond himself. We have seen him, above and beyond the call of duty, saving lives here in our own province as with Cabanatuan, Bulacan, Albay, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Leyte, and Aurora, among many others throughout the years. Wherever there is a disaster or calamity, you can be sure that he is there, always first, always ready, always there often endangering his own life, defying his family, in order to alleviate other people’s suffering and uplift human dignity. And when the disaster is over, count on him to be there to help rebuild the community. In recent months, people have seen him in the news because of the Red Cross kidnapping crisis. People have seen him passionate, aggressive, sad, sometimes even angry. If he has appeared emotional, it is because he is a leader who truly cares – the captain of a ship who treats all of his men like they are his own children, because to him every life matters and is worthy of every effort, attention, compassion, and caring that he can give – no matter what anybody else says.

Senator Gordon is a leader with a vision for the future of his people, and a clear strategy to get them there. He is a leader who has made change, and change for the better. He has brought dignity and hope to his people and has motivated and inspired others to go in the right direction, and he, along with everybody, has sacrificed much to get there. In everything he has done, he has seen for his people a new country – a Bagumbayan. He has brought them out of the darkness and into the light. And now, he calls everyone to break free of their own limitations to chase after the horizon, to step into the light, grab hold of their own future, and finally build a nation that is enabled, ennobled and free.

The Official Website of the Senate of the Philippines 

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