OBITUARY: Former President Fidel Ramos dies at 94
Popularly known through his initials FVR, Ramos succumbed to COVID-19 complications at the age of 94. He served as the 12th president of the Philippines, with his term spanning from 1992 to 1998.
Ramos first gained national prominence for his roles during the dictatorship of strongman Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. He was part of the so-called “Rolex 12,” a team of advisers that gave counsel to Marcos throughout his implementation of martial law starting 23 September 1972. At that time, Ramos lead the Philippine Constabulary – the forerunner of the present-day Philippine National Police.
Ramos was the Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when he and then-Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile withdrew their support from Marcos and allied themselves with Corazon Aquino two weeks after the disputed 1986 snap presidential elections.
Aquino assumed the presidency when the Marcoses fled the Philippines, and she appointed Ramos as her Defense Secretary. In that capacity, Ramos became instrumental in helping Aquino survive numerous coup attempts.
When Aquino decided not to run for another term as president, she endorsed Ramos as her successor – enabling the latter to win a seven-way presidential race with just 24% of the votes.
Ramos is best known for creating the “Philippines 2000” initiative which was centered on five major areas: 1) Peace and Stability, 2) Economic Growth and Sustainable Development, 3) Energy and Power
Generation, 4) Environmental Protection, and 5) Streamlined Bureaucracy.
Unfortunately for Ramos, “Philippines 2000” did not really succeed all the way because as his term ended, the Philippines became engulfed in the 1997 Asian financial crisis as well as the effects of the worst El Niño phenomenon – one of the worst in recorded history.
Ramos remained active in national politics even after his presidency. He was part of the EDSA People Power 2001 which forced his successor Joseph Estrada out of office. In 2004, he endorsed then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo over her challenger Fernando Poe, Jr. – and he continued supporting her until the end of her term despite the controversies.