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Gov’t officials mourn passing of ex-president Fidel V. Ramos

Several government officials and Malacañang on Sunday expressed grief over the loss of former President Fidel V. Ramos, who has died at the age of 94.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said the country has lost a “truly brilliant man.”

“President Ramos was probably one of our brightest leaders, who always seemed a step ahead of everyone. Maybe it was his military background, but as a politician he was always able to quickly assess the landscape and formulate the best way forward through consultation and consensus,” Zubiri said in a statement.

“That was his legacy as President—he left behind a brand of democratic leadership that allowed for us to grow into the new Asian tiger of the nineties,” he added.

Zubiri said he admired Ramos for leaving "an indelible mark" on the country's peace process.

“He met eye to eye with the MNLF (The Moro National Liberation Front) and the other Armed groups, recognizing their struggle and their freedom to pursue their cause,” he said.

“Even well past his days in Malacañang, he was committed to helping the country regain and maintain its status as a center of socio-economic progress. He never stopped being a brilliant and committed leader, and we are a poorer nation for his loss,” he furthered.

Senator Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. said he was saddened by the death of Ramos, who he deemed as his “father in public service.”

“Napakabigat at napakalungkot pong balita ang pagpanaw ng aking itinuturing na ama sa paglilingkod-bayan, President Fidel V. Ramos,” Revilla said in a statement.

Revilla said Ramos convinced him to join public service as the former president invited him to the Lakas-CMD party.

“He was my first and true mentor as I forayed into politics, being elected as Cavite's Vice Governor in 1995. Up to this day, FVR is an inspiration and an example I greatly look up to,” he said.

The Senator also said that Ramos was one of the best government officials.

“Hindi matatawaran ang naging pamana ni FVR sa bansa. Sa pamamagitan ng kanyang pamumuno ay umahon ang Pilipinas mula sa mga krisis na bumabalot sa bawat pilipino ng mga panahong iyon,” Revilla said.

“His legacy is the foundation upon which later administrations have built upon. He transformed the Philippines from being the sick man of Asia to the Tiger of the Region,” he added.

'Democracy icon'

Senator Grace Poe said Ramos was a “steadfast leader and democracy icon.”

“His resolute vision paved the way for real economic gains that brought the Philippines to a rising tiger status. The occasions I met with former President FVR left indelible lessons on being a firm and dedicated public servant,” Poe said.

Senator Nancy Binay, meanwhile, said that the nation has lost one of its “leading lights.”

“The Filipino people lived in a time of hope during former President Fidel Valdez Ramos’ tenure. FVR oversaw massive economic gains for the country that were translated to programs for the welfare of the people,” Binay wrote on Twitter.

According to Binay, the Filipino people enjoyed peace, stability, and development under the leadership of Ramos.

“He also successfully brokered peace with rebel groups, extending the hand of peace with programs that sought to address the roots of discontent.

“Sa pamumuno ni FVR, tinamasa ng sambayanan ang kapayapaan, katatagan, at pag-unlad,” she said. “Sa panahong ito ng matinding kalungkutan, kaisa ako ng sambayanang Pilipino sa pagdadalamhati sa pagpanaw ng isang mahusay, epektibo, at dakilang pinunong nakilala ng bansa.”

Senator Joel Villanueva also joined the nation in mourning Ramos’ death.

Pres. FVR will always be remembered for leading the nation into the new millennium. His dream of turning the country into a ‘Tiger Economy’ will always stay alive in the hearts of every Filipino,” Villanueva said.

“His iconic thumbs up sign and his ‘Kaya Natin’ mentality will continue to give us inspiration to push for progress in our country,” he added.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles expressed her condolences to the family and associates of Ramos.

“It is with great sorrow that we learn of the passing of former President Fidel V. Ramos. He leaves behind a colorful legacy and a secure place in history for his participation in the great changes of our country, both as military officer and chief executive,” Cruz Angeles wrote on Facebook.

'Global competitiveness'

For his part, Senator Lito Lapid said that the nation lost a great and respected leader.

“Inaalala natin ang kanyang napakaraming nagawang mabuti sa ating bayan lalo na noong siya pa ang Pangulo kasama na ang pagpapayabong sa ating ekonomiya at pag-usad ng peace process,” Lapid said.

“Habang buhay nating tatanawin na utang na loob ang kanyang serbisyo sa bayan at alam nating ginawa nya ang lahat bilang miyembro ng Sandatahang Lakas at bilang lider ng bansa dahil sa pagmamahal nya sa ating Inang Bayan,” he added.

Senator Sonny Angara also expressed condolences to Ramos’ family and friends.

“May former President Fidel V Ramos rest in peace—we condole w his family and friends; a lot of reforms happened during his presidency—the breakup of the telco monopoly, the resolution of the power situation/brownouts; the beginning of the peace process w/ our brother Muslims; among others,” Angara said.

Meanwhile, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said that Ramos “once steadfastly steered the country” to greater heights and achievements.

“His legacy would include major peace agreements with Muslim separatists, communist insurgents and military rebels that earned for him and our country the coveted 1997 UNESCO Peace Prize; deregulation of key industries and liberalization of the economy; privatization of public entities including modernization of public infrastructure through the expanded BOT law; and a comprehensive Social Reform Agenda that mostly benefitted the poor and underprivileged members of the society,” Estrada said.

“We honor his legacy and service to the country. I join the Filipino nation in mourning the passing of a brave soldier, visionary leader, true public servant and patriot. May his soul Rest in Peace,” he added.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go thanked Ramos for being a soldier, gentleman and a father to the nation.

“With deepest sympathy, I join a grateful nation in sharing our grief with the family of former president Fidel V. Ramos who died today,” Go wrote on Facebook.

“FVR, as he is fondly called, paved the way for our global competitiveness under his Philippines 2000 platform. The many success stories under his administration become relevant again as we gradually emerge from the pandemic and regain our position in the regional economic arena,” he continued.

Sen. Robin Padilla said he joined the country in mourning the passing of for President Ramos.

"Sa pamumuno ni FVR, naibsan ang problema natin sa mga brownout, at pinaigting ang ating pagsisikap para magkaroon ng kapayapaan lalo na sa Mindanao," said Padilla

(Through FVR's leadership, our brownout problem was solved, and efforts to achieve peace, especially in Mindanao, were strengthened.)

"Maraming salamat, Boss FVR!"

Meanwhile, Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel IV, Raffy Tulfo, and Francis Tolentino extended their condolences to the Ramos family.

Model for a life in public service

House Speaker Martin G. Romualdez said that Ramos’ legacy would never be forgotten.

“We all grieve because we lost a great leader and a dear friend. One who is a pillar of strength, and an inspiration to all,” Romualdez said.

“President Ramos will be remembered as one of the great Filipino leaders that took good governance to heart. His experience as a military general and his innate charm set the blueprint for what Philippine leaders should be: tough when necessary, but with a caring heart for the common Filipino,” he added.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda described Ramos s a “mentor and a model for my life in public service”

“The former President helped birth my career in public service. During the peak of my career in the private sector as an analyst, President Ramos would consult me on matters of national concern. That was when I became convinced that I could serve the country in a greater way. Just as he was leaving office, I ran for Congressman in Albay,” Salceda said.

“FVR is also family to me. He, together with Sen. Letty Shahani, considers our Sarte clan as family because one of my uncles married his first cousin, Angelita Lizardo. So, he always felt at home seeking my advice visiting our hometown Polangui several times,” he added.

According to Salceda, Ramos was someone who instinctively understood the complex workings of the economy.

“In terms of policy, he was the most consistent and methodical. He knew what he wanted to do, and he tried to do it,” he said.

“Without FVR, we would not have been able to solidify the bedrock of investor confidence that has since allowed the country to grow its economy for decades. Ramos equaled economic reform. The Ramos brand was a brand of seriousness in governance. Business knew he meant business,” he added.

Dasmariñas City's Lone Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. extended his condolences to the Ramos family.

The Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Philippine National Police paid tribute to Ramos. — BM, GMA News