Former President and Manila Bulletin columnist Fidel V. Ramos, whose six years in office brought solid socio-economic gains and transformed the country into “Asia’s Tiger Cub economy”, died on Sunday, July 31 at the age of 94.
He is believed to have died at 3 p.m. at Makati Medical Center where he was rushed to a few days ago.
“My administration has had its ups and downs. But overall it was a good six years. It was a time when we proved what unity, solidarity and teamwork can do for our country,” Ramos said in his last interview.
In a statement, the Ramos family confirmed the death of the former president.
“We thank you all for respecting our privacy as the family takes time to grieve together,” he said.
He also said revival and funeral arrangements will be announced later.
Ramos served as President of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998 and under his leadership the country enjoyed a period of political stability and rapid economic growth and expansion.
His policies and programs of national reconciliation and unity led to important peace agreements with Muslim separatists, communist insurgents and military rebels, which renewed investor confidence in the Philippine economy.
Ramos pushed for the deregulation of key industries and the liberalization of the economy. He encouraged the privatization of public entities, including the modernization of public infrastructure through the expanded Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Act.
During the years 1993-1997, the Philippine economy recovered dramatically. The gross national product averaged 5% per year, the total inflow of foreign currency into the country exceeded that of the combined periods of the reigns of Presidents Marcos and Aquino, and the average Filipino family income increased more during the administration of Ramos than in the previous one. two decades.
This enabled the Ramos administration to implement a comprehensive social reform program (SRA) that tackled long-standing issues of poverty, health, education and job training, housing, welfare environment, children and youth, elderly and disabled, employment and livelihoods. , land reform and access to equal opportunities.
The peace deal that Ramos brokered with military rebels and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) won him and MNLF President Nur Misuari the 1997 UNESCO Peace Prize, the first for Asians. His public service lasted a total of 51 years.
Ramos began his military career as an infantry platoon leader in the Philippine counterinsurgency campaign, then fought in Korea and Vietnam and rose to become Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
He graduated from West Point in 1950 and attended graduate school at the University of Illinois, where he earned a master of science degree in civil engineering in 1951. Returning to the Philippines, he served as infantry platoon leader with the Second Battalion Combat Team. , Philippine Army, during the counter-insurgency campaign.
In 1952, he joined the 20th Battalion Combat Team as an infantry reconnaissance platoon leader with the Philippine Expeditionary Force in Korea. Over the next ten years, he held positions of increasing responsibility in command and staff assignments in the Philippine Army, culminating in his appointment to command the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), a position qu ‘he held for three years.
In 1966, Ramos joined the first Filipino civic action group in Vietnam as chief of staff. In 1968 he was appointed Presidential Assistant for Military Affairs, and in 1970 he assumed command of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Brigade.
A year later, Ramos was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for Homeland Defense of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In 1972, he was appointed Chief of the Philippine Constabulary of the Philippine Armed Forces, a position he held for fourteen years. At the same time, in 1975, he was appointed to the post of Director General of the Integrated National Police of the Philippines. In 1981, Fidel Ramos was chosen to be the Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He remained in this assignment for five years, the last two as acting chief of staff.
In recognition of his outstanding leadership and courage – attributes that drove him to play a pivotal role in the return of democracy to the Philippines, he was named a Military Hero of the People’s Peaceful Revolution. This brief but momentous chapter in his military career led to Ramos’ assignment as AFP chief of staff and, two years later, his appointment as secretary of national defence.
In June 1992, Ramos was elected the 12th President of the Republic of the Philippines. He inherited a nation in the midst of a deepening crisis. Protracted political instability, exacerbated by the growing number of victims of attacks by Moro secessionists, military rebels and terrorists; a poor and declining economy; and a failing infrastructure.
During his six-year tenure, remarkable gains were made by the Philippines in revitalizing the economy, repairing infrastructure, and establishing peace with dissident factions in the country.
Promoting the principles of people empowerment and global competitiveness, President Ramos has never lost sight of the need to preserve and protect the democratic process in politics.
The recovery in the Philippines from 1992 to 1998 was spectacular. A large part of this effort was the comprehensive social program introduced by Ramos – Philippines 2000 – which would see the Philippines attain Newly Industrialized Country status by the year 2000 and beyond. The social reform program tackled long-standing issues of health, education, job training, housing, support for the disabled, land reform and equal opportunity.
Among his many decorations and honors, General Ramos received the Philippine Medal of Military Merit (with spearhead), Distinguished Service Star (with silver and bronze leaf from Anahaw), Medal of Commendation (First Bronze Equilateral Triangle), Philippine Legion of Honor (Commander’s Degree with Bronze Anahaw’s Third Leaf), Distinguished Conduct Star, and United States Legion of Merit (Commander’s Degree). He received honorary degrees and awards too numerous to list.
Ramos founded the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting peace and development in the Philippines and the wider Asia-Pacific region.
In 1998, together with Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Morihiro Hosokawa, former Prime Minister of Japan, Ramos founded the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), a leading forum for leaders in government, business and universities in Asia and other continents that are committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries even closer to their development goals.
Ramos was a founding member of the Global Leadership Foundation in 2004.
Ramos was born on March 18, 1928 in Lingayen, Pangasinan and grew up in the city of Asingan. His father, Narciso Ramos (1900–1986), was a lawyer, journalist, and legislator for five terms in the House of Representatives, eventually rising to the post of Foreign Secretary. As such, Narciso Ramos was the Filipino signatory of the ASEAN declaration forged in Bangkok in 1967, and founding member of the Liberal Party. According to the biography of Fidel Ramos during his presidential inauguration in 1992, Narciso Ramos was also one of the leaders of the anti-Japanese guerrilla group Maharlika founded by Ferdinand Marcos. His mother, Angela Valdez (1905–1978), was an educator, suffragette, and member of Batac’s respected Valdez clan, Ilocos Norte.
Her younger sister, Leticia Ramos-Shahani, a former senator, diplomat and writer, died in 2017 at the age of 87.
He married Amelita Martinez on October 21, 1954. They have five daughters: Angelita Ramos-Jones, Josephine Ramos-Samartino (deceased), Carolina Ramos-Sembrano, Cristina Ramos-Jalasco and Gloria Ramos.
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