‘No-nonsense, nation’s true father:’ Senators honor late President Fidel Ramos
MANILA, Philippines — Several senators remembered on Monday former President Fidel Ramos, saying his legacy “will stay in our memories forever.”
During its session, the Senate adopted resolutions expressing profound sympathy and sincere condolences of the upper chamber over the death of Ramos.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Ramos was “one of the brightest leaders” of the country. The Senate leader added that the way Ramos discharged his duties “will stay in our memories forever.”
“President Fidel V. Ramos may have left office almost a quarter of a century ago, but the way he discharged his duties and dignified the presidency will stay in our memories forever,” Zubiri said in his sponsorship speech.
“As president, he brought his military mind to the table and set the benchmark for hard work and discipline, the standard for boldness, and the template for fast action and quick results,” he added.
Zubiri said Ramos was a “no-nonsense, tobacco-chomping action man who was as effective a leader on the battlefield as he was making decisions in a cabinet meeting.”
“As a paratrooper, he could jump from planes, on cloudy days and moonless nights without seeing the terrain. But as President, he would never jump to conclusions without getting all the facts at hand first,” Zubiri said.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said Ramos “left a space that no one could fill.”
Villanueva recalled that during the Ramos administration, he was a college student, and his professors would describe the Philippines as “Asia’s next tiger economy.”
The senator also stressed that Republic Act No. 7796, which created the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), was passed during the Ramos administration.
Villanueva headed TESDA from 2010 to 2015.
“FVR lived a fruitful ninety-four years of life here on earth and more than 50 years of dedicated service to the nation,” Villanueva said.
“President Fidel V. Ramos spent a life well-lived. Generations upon generations of Filipinos will surely remember him. Salute! Mission accomplished! May your soul rest in peace, FVR,” he added.
‘Nation’s true father’
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda said Ramos “reinvented politics” by conducting extensive consultations with various sectors of the country.
“He envisioned the Philippines to be a society characterized by equity, tolerance, harmonious pluralism, justice, and full respect for human rights,” Legarda said.
Further, Legarda said Ramos was a leader “whose heart is in the right place.” The senator also revealed that Ramos encouraged her to run for the first time as a senator.
“In the face of crisis and challenges, FVR revealed himself to be a nation’s true father, an indefatigable and disciplined public servant,” Legarda said.
“FVR’s death is a loss to our nation. We, as a people, we owe him much. I owe him much, too. Having said that, I thank you, Mr. President, for your lasting legacy to our nation, and people,” she added.
Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. said Ramos was his “first and true mentor when I forayed into politics.” Ramos is the chairman emeritus of the Lakas-CMD, the party currently co-chaired by Revilla.
“FVR did not just dream of bringing the country to international prominence, he actually brought us there. Sa ilalim ng kanyang panunungkulan, nakipag-sabayan ang Pilipinas sa ating mga karatig bansa sa pagsulong,” Revilla said.
Further, Revilla said Ramos’ legacy “is the foundation upon which later administrations have built upon.”
“The death of President Fidel Valdez Ramos, who was an international diplomat, a valiant soldier, and a champion in public and civic service, is a great loss for all the Filipino people,” Revilla said.
‘Courage, honor, patriotism’
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian remembered Ramos as a president who displayed “courage, honor, and patriotism.”
“As a soldier, President Ramos fiercely protected our country from those who threatened its freedom… And while President Ramos was a valiant commander, he was also committed to the cause of peace,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian, who previously headed the Senate committee on energy, also recalled how the Ramos administration solved a power crisis.
“The tributes that pour in from leaders around the world after his passing show the esteem in which he was held. He brought to the Office of the President his outstanding work ethic shaped by his distinguished career in the military and in public service,” Gatchalian said.
Senator Pia Cayetano said Ramos was a “good friend to the family,” saying it was the former president who urged her father Renato Cayetano to run for Senate in 1998.
“As I was reading through the late FVR’s accomplishments, one of them is something that will continue to guide me today. He established the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development,” Cayetano, who chairs the Senate committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovations and Futures Thinking, said.
“I pray that this tribute that we have, I hope will be repeated again and again, if not for days, for months, but for years to come, because he truly was an inspiration for our youth to emulate,” she added.
Protector of rights
Senator Raffy Tulfo said Ramos was a pioneer in protecting the rights of overseas Filipino workers through the enactment of Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995.
“It became my number one tool in assisting thousands of our countrymen to avail of these protections from illegal recruitment and abuses from employers abroad,” Tulfo said.
“Hindi ko matutulungan ang libo-libo nating kapwa Pilipino kung wala ang batas na ito ni Pangulong Ramos [I couldn’t have helped a lot of our fellow Filipinos without these laws by President Ramos],” he added.
Tulfo also noted Ramos’ efforts to bring home an overseas Filipino worker in the United Arab Emirates who was sentenced to death for murder.
“After ascertaining that she only acted in self-defense, President Ramos made sure that she is safely returned back home so true justice is served. Walang maiiwang Pilipino kahit saang sulok ng mundo [No Filipinos will be left behind anywhere in the world],” Tulfo said.
Senator Robin Padilla said it was during Ramos’s term that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was established.
“Kailanman ay hindi po malilimutan ng inyong mga kapatid na Muslim ang 1996 Final Peace Agreement na kung tawagin ay Jakarta Accord – ang usaping kapayapaan na nagbigay katuparan sa mga pangarap ng Bangsamoro, kasagutan sa ilang daang taon ng pakikibaka, [Muslim brothers will never forget the 1996 Final Peace Agreement that is called Jakarta Accord — the peace talks that paved the way for the realization of dreams in Bangsamoro, a solution to hundred of years’ of struggle]” Padilla said.
“Dito ipinanganak ang Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao [This is when the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was born],” he added.
Senator Bong Go, meanwhile, said Ramos was a “true statesman who paved the way for our global competitiveness under his Philippines 2000 platform.”
“As policymakers, the successful policies of his administration should become our blueprint as we aim to gradually emerge from the adverse impacts of the pandemic and regain our position in the regional economic arena,” Go said.
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