Philippines in the US > Embassy >> About the Embassy >> Ambassador's Bio

Ambassador's Bio

About the Ambassador

Ambassador of the Philippines to the United States of America

Current Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America, His Excellency Willy C. Gaa was initially assigned to the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. as Charge d’Affaires on July 25, 2006.  After his appointment by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and confirmation by the Commission on Appointments as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America, he presented his credentials to President George W. Bush on December 8, 2006.

Prior to his current position, he was Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles.  He served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (AEP) of the Republic of the Philippines to the People’s Republic of China and non-resident Ambassador to Mongolia and North Korea on (2003-January 2006).  He also served as Ambassador to Australia and non-resident Ambassador to Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu (2002-2003).

His other assignments to different Philippine Foreign Service posts are:

  1. Philippine Ambassador to Tripoli, Libya and non-resident Ambassador to Tunisia, Malta and Niger (1992-1997);
  2. Consul General in New York (1997-1999);
  3. Deputy Consul General in Los Angeles (1987-1990);
  4. Consul in New York (1981-1985); and
  5. Vice Consul, subsequently Consul, in San Francisco (1970-1975).

His career as a diplomat began when he was appointed as Foreign Service Officer (FSO) in December 1974 after passing the FSO examination and taking the oath of office in 1975.

He served in various capacities in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Manila:

  1. Assistant Secretary, Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs (May 1999-January 2002);
  2. Executive Director, Office of Consular Services (August 1986-1987);
  3. Director, Office of Middle East and African Affairs (July-August 1986);
  4. Acting Chief Coordinator, Office of the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs (September 1985- February 1986);
  5. Secretary, Board of Foreign Service Administration and Board of Foreign Service Examiners (July-August 1985);
  6. Principal Assistant, Office of Personnel Administration (1975).

Ambassador Gaa represented the Philippines in various United Nations conferences, as well as multilateral and regional meetings, seminars and trainings. He served as Adviser of the Philippine Delegation to the 36th and 53rd United Nations General Asssemblies in 1981 and 1998, respectively.  He attended several ASEAN Senior Officials meetings and various bilateral dialogue meetings as a member of the Philippine Delegation.

The Ambassador was Head of the Philippine Delegation to the Working Group of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Free Weapons Zone (SEANFWZ), the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), the Senior Officials Working Group on the Regional Code of Conduct on the South China Sea in Singapore, Thailand, China, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam (1999-2000),  the Intercessional Group  Meetings on Confidence Building Measures of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)  in Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi and Singapore (1999-2001) and the Working Group Meetings on Confidence Building Measures between China and the Philippines in Beijing (1999), and Manila (2001).

Ambassador Gaa obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree from the Manuel L. Quezon University in 1966.  He graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1970 with a Bachelor of Laws degree, and from the New York University in 1985 with a degree in Master of Laws in International Legal Studies.

He passed the government career service examination in 1968, the Philippine Bar Examination in 1970 and the State Bar of California in 1990.  His previous legal work experience was as tax and compliance attorney at Petrophil (now Petron) 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, Ambassador Gaa was presented the following awards:

  1. Awardee for Invaluable Contribution to the Philippine Medical Association Metropolitan Washington D.C. Inc, December 2009;
  2. Excellence in Foreign Service, University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America, September 2009;
  3. International Award for Public Service, Chicago Filipino American Hall of Fame, 2007;
  4. UNO Top Award, University of the Philippines Upsilon Sigma Phi Fraternity Alumni Association, 2007;
  5. Outstanding Romblonian Award by the Province of Romblon, 2006;
  6. Distinguished Service Award, Department of Foreign Affairs, 2000; and
  7. Gawad Sentenaryo (Centennial Award), National Centennial Commission, 1999.

Ambassador Gaa is married to Erlinda Concepcion, with whom he has two sons, Wendell and Warren.

(updated on March 2010)