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Former DFA chief Siazon passes away

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Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Domingo L. Siazon Jr., who negotiated the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States in 1998, died at the age of 77 Tuesday in Japan, the country where he once served as the Philippines’ top diplomat.

According to a former colleague, Siazon, who headed the Department of Foreign Affairs during President now reelectionist Manila Mayor Joseph E. Estrada’s term, died from prostate cancer at 4:30 p.m. in Tokyo.

It was also in Japan where, as a young man, he earned a second degree in Physics at the Tokyo University of Education as a Japanese government scholar.

Siazon negotiated the VFA with US counterpart Ambassador Thomas Hubbard.

It was also during his stint as DFA chief in 1995 when the Philippines strongly protested the construction by China of military-type structures on Mischief Reef, a disputed feature in South China Sea where China has recently carried out extensive land reclamation work and built an artificial island for possible military use.

Prior to his designation as ambassador to Japan and Foreign Affairs secretary, Siazon was Philippine Ambassador to Austria, where he was concurrent Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna and the International Atomic Energy Agency. He also sat as Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

Born in July 9, 1939 in Aparri, Cagayan, Siazon obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the Ateneo de Manila University.