Ambassador Howard Q. Dee, a UE Bachelor of Business Administration graduate of the UE College of Business Administration-Manila from Batch 1951, is one of the six recipients of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award!
Per the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, Ambassador Dee is being recognized for “championing the human face of peace, justice and economic growth,” and for his “quietly heroic half-century of service to the Filipino people, his abiding dedication to the pursuit of social justice and peace in achieving dignity and progress for the poor, and his being, by his deeds, a true servant of his faith and an exemplary citizen of his nation.”
The Tondo, Manila-born Ambassador Dee has long devoted himself to helping others, especially the underprivileged.
He was initially with United Laboratories in the 1960s, the largest pharmaceutical company in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia at the time and a pioneer of the concept of corporate social responsibility. By 1965, Mr. Dee was Unilab President.
In 1970 he became one of the Founding Trustees of Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a consortium in which member corporations donate two percent of their profits to social development. In 1972 he formed the Assisi Development Foundation, which aids millions of needy Filipinos. Later on, he was the Founding Chairman of the Philippine Development Assistance Program in 1984, and the Lead Convenor of the National Peace Conference in 1990.
His social services record eventually earned for him the crucial assignment of being Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See and the Republic of Malta, from 1986 to 1990.
In 1993, he chaired the government panel for the peace talks with the members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front. He later on served as Presidential Adviser on Indigenous People’s Affairs (with the rank of Cabinet Secretary) in 2002.
Ambassador Dee’s civic duties have earned him several awards, including the Pontifical Order of St. Sylvester in 1985, the Gawad Mabini Award of the Republic of the Philippines in 1999, the Rizal Peace Award in 2004 and the Aurora Aragon Quezon Special Peace Award in 2006.
A tireless individual, the now 87-year old Ambassador Dee had served as President of the Assisi Development Foundation Inc., Co-Chairman of “Tabang Mindanaw, and Vice Chairman of both Caritas Manila and Pondo ng Pinoy.
UE has continually recognized Ambassador Dee’s contributions to the betterment of Philippine society. He was recognized as the Most Outstanding UE Alumnus in 1991 and is one of the 60 Most Outstanding UE Alumni who were formally recognized in a ceremony on September 29, 2006, at the UE Theatre during the University’s 60th Foundation Anniversary.
He is the University’s 29th honorary degree recipient overall, and the ninth UE alumnus to be bestowed the honor by his Alma Mater since he was conferred the degree of Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa, during the UE 64th Yearend Commencement Rites on April 25, 2012, at the PICC Plenary Hall.
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award aims to “celebrate the memory and leadership example” of former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay. Touted as the Nobel Prize of Asia, the award is given to select “Asian exemplars of service and excellence,” as the Philippine Daily Inquirer mentioned in its July 29, 2018 editorial (http://opinion.inquirer.net/114960/the-defiant-ones) who are “heroes of hope” and “moves their societies forward through their unequivocal pursuit of the larger good.”
Ambassador Dee and his fellow Ramon Magsaysay Awardees from Cambodia, East Timor, India and Vietnam will be officially awarded on August 31, 2018 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. As the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation puts it, Ambassador Dee and his fellow awardees represent the “defiant declaration of hope” in Asia, “[refusing] to give up despite meager resources, daunting adversity and strong opposition. Their approaches are all deeply anchored on a respect for human dignity.”
Congratulations, Warrior alumnus Howard Q. Dee!