FVR: PH president must be ‘world-class’
“The Philippine president must be world-class.”
Thus said former president Fidel V. Ramos when asked about his thoughts on the ongoing heated exchange between presidential aspirants Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas, which had led to challenges to a slapping match, a fistfight and a gun duel.
Asked about his advice to presidential hopefuls, Ramos on Wednesday said the country’s next top leader should be competitive not only nationally but also globally.
“My advice is very simple. Act like a Philippine president that must be very competitive nationally. Ikukumpara ka sa ibang pangulo ng Pilipinas (You will be compared to other Philippine presidents),” Ramos said during the “Pandesal forum” at the Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City.
“We’re no longer in the period of Antonio Luna and Andres Bonifacio. Ang magkakasama hindi nagpapatayan, kundi nagbubuklod para iangat ang bayan nating Pilipinas (Those who are together do not kill each other but unite to move our country, the Philippines, forward),” he added.
Stressing the importance of being united in one goal, Ramos said the serious problems hounding the Philippines like poverty would not be solved by slapping.
“We should be one Philippine team. That’s the way to compete. You can’t go up in the world if we are fragmented as we are now,” Ramos said.
“We must look beyond this generation. ‘Yan ang hangarin ng mga leader, ‘yan ang ambisyon ng Pilipinas(That;s what leaders aim for, that the ambition of the Philippines)—to have a better future for everyone,” he added.
The word war between Duterte and Roxas started when the tough-talking mayor claimed that the administration bet did not actually graduate from the prestigious Wharton School. Roxas retortd by daring Duterte to slap him if he can prove his Wharton degree was indeed a “myth” and that he would engage him in a slapping match. Roxas later on said that slapping was not very manly, challenging Duterte to a fistfight instead.
Duterte’s challenge came after Roxas tagged the peace and order situation in Davao City as myth, contrary to the mayor and locals’ claims.
Ramos, a known friend and supporter of Duterte, noted that he was one of the first to say that the Philippines needed a president from Mindanao, but lamented how the presidential derby has boiled down to a physical contest.
“A Philippine president must act like a national model at the same time must act globally competitive. You must appear before the United Nations, the human rights commission, Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). You have a huge international role to play,” Ramos said. “Let us just caution everybody that we are no longer what we are because we are going to be something else.”
Asked about the importance of educational attainment in choosing the next president amid the digging up of degrees, Ramos said the more important criterion was a leader’s ability to engage and mobilize the public.
“Academic degrees really should not count because the conventional wisdom is like this: You should make sure your education goes to your mind and not to your head,” Ramos said.
“The most important component of leadership is ‘pakikisama sa mamayan’ or common tao so you could mobilize them to move as one team,” he added.
Asked about who he would endorse for president, Ramos joked that people should vote for someone younger than him as a lot of things can still from today until next year’s polls.
“They are all my friends,” he said.
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