Filtered By: Topstories

Former president Fidel V. Ramos dies at 94

Former president Fidel V. Ramos has died at the age of 94, his family announced on Sunday.

"The Ramos family is profoundly saddened to announce the passing of former President Fidel Valdez Ramos," it said in a statement.

"We thank you all for respecting our privacy, as the family takes some time to grieve together. We will announce wake and funeral arrangements in the near future," the family added.

Ramos was elected as the 12th President of the Philippines in 1992 and served until 1998. He succeeded President Corazon Aquino, for whom he served as chief of staff of the Armed Forces and then Defense secretary.

Six years earlier, on February 22, 1986, Ramos—then Armed Forces vice chief of staff to President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.—joined Aquino and hundreds of thousands of protesters gathering on EDSA against the Marcos regime, along with then-Defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile. Their decision to join the People Power Revolution, as the movement came to be known, was pivotal in the eventual ouster of the Marcoses from Malacañang three days later.

FVR, as he was also known, was inaugurated President on June 30, 1992, the first chief executive to be inaugurated on that date as provided for under the 1987 Constitution.

He was also the first, and so far the only, non-Catholic elected president of the Philippines.

"We were elected at the same time in 1992 and I was a witness to how he did his best to unify the country and people. Indeed he served the country well!" former Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a message to reporters. Other lawmakers have also sent their condolences on FVR's passing.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. sent his sympathies to the Ramos family as well.

Born on March 18, 1928 in Lingayen, Pangasinan to lawmaker Narciso Ramos and educator Angela Valdez, Ramos graduated with a military engineering degree from West Point and was a career military officer when he was appointed chief of the Philippine Constabulary during the Martial Law years.

As President, FVR oversaw the privatization of water utilities in the National Capital Region and the building of power plants to address the power crisis at the time.

Under his term, the Philippine government signed its final peace deal with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996, for which Ramos was awarded UNESCO's Peace Prize a year later.

Capital punishment, or the death penalty, was also brought back during his term, after it had been abolished in 1987. It was again abolished in 2006 by his successor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Last year, on the 35th anniversary of the People Power Revolution, FVR urged Filipinos to keep its spirit alive. "The 1986 EDSA Revolution remains our nation's resplendent moment for it represents the best of Filipinos," he said.

A fitness buff often seen with an unlit cigar in his mouth, Ramos was an active runner well into his later years. He is survived by his wife, former first lady Amelita "Ming" Ramos, and four of their five daughters. Their second child, Josephine "Jo" Ramos-Samartino, passed away in 2011. — BM, GMA News