MANILA – Former Philippine President Fidel Valdez Ramos, who died on Sunday, was a fighter and a survivor in the political arena during the wars in Korea and Vietnam, a high-ranking leader during Ferdinand’s dictatorship. Emerging from a security role. Marcos Sr. to win the vote for the country’s highest office. He was 94 years old.
Ramos became a hero to many for his separation from Marcos’ government, where he led the national police force, which led to the dictator’s downfall during the 1986 popular uprising against his rule.
Others, however, will not condone or forget his role in enforcing martial law under the Marcos regime.
Ramos, who in later years was famous for having no cigar, contested in 1992 to replace People Power leader Corazon Aquino, who had ousted Marcos. Although he received less than 23% of the vote, Ramos soon gained 66% of the support, and his presidency has been remembered for a period of peace, stability and development.
“Our family shares the Filipino people’s grief on this sad day. We did not only lose a good leader but also a member of the family,” Marcos’ son, the recently elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, said in a statement.
“The legacy of his presidency will always be cherished and enshrined in the hearts of our grateful nation.”
Known as FVR, Ramos attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and fought in the Korean War in the 1950s as a platoon leader. He served in the late 1960s in Vietnam as the Philippine Civil Action Group leader.
Ramos held every rank in the Philippine army, from the second lieutenant to the commander-in-chief. He never lost his military bearing and swagger, repeatedly bragging, “Any soft jobs for Ramos.”
The former diplomat’s son became the only Methodist leader of the mainly Roman Catholic country.
His six-year administration opened the country’s economy to foreign investment through deregulation and liberalisation policies.
Ramos broke up monopolies in the transportation and communications sectors. He restored the ailing electricity sector through special powers granted by Congress, ending debilitating 12-hour power outages that plagued the country.
During his tenure, the economy surged and poverty rates fell to 31% from 39% through his Social Reform Agenda.
Ramos fought right-wing, leftist and Islamic rebels during his time in the military but later held peace talks with all “enemies of the state”, including rogue soldiers who attempted nearly a dozen times to unseat Aquino during her tenure.
He signed a peace agreement with the Islamic separatists of the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996. He succeeded in shrinking the number of Maoist-led guerrillas to more than 5,400 rebels from a high of 25,000 in early 1986.
Ramos was a multi-tasking workaholic and athletic leader. When he was military chief, he would play golf and jog simultaneously, running after his ball. His early morning jog was legendary among his staff officers, and even at 80, he would jump to reenact what he did during the revolt in 1986.