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Fidel Valdez Ramos (born March 18, 1928), popularly known as FVR, was the 12th President of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998. During his six years in office, Ramos was widely credited and admired by many for revitalizing and renewing international confidence in the Philippine economy.

Prior to his election as president, Ramos served in the Cabinet of President Corazon Aquino first as chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and, later on, as Secretary of National Defense from 1986 to 1991.

During the historic 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Ramos, along with then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, was hailed as a hero by many Filipinos for his decision to breakaway from the administration of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and pledge allegiance and loyalty to the newly-established revolutionary government of President Aquino, following the downfall of Marcos from power in February 1986. Previously, he was the AFP vice chief-of-staff under President Marcos.

Under Ramos' leadership, the Philippines experienced a period of political stability and rapid economic growth and expansion, as a result of his policies and programs designed to foster national reconciliation and unity. Ramos was able to secure major peace agreements with Muslim separatists, communist insurgents and military rebels, which renewed investor confidence in the Philippine economy. Ramos also aggressively pushed for the deregulation of the nation's major industries and the privatization of bad government assets. As a result of his hands-on approach to the economy, the Philippines was dubbed by various international magazines and observers as Asia's Next Economic Tiger.

However, the momentum in the economic gains made under the Ramos Administration was briefly interrupted during the onset of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Nevertheless, during the last year of Ramos' term, the economy managed to make a rebound since it was not severely hit by the crisis as compared to other Asian economies.

To date, Ramos is the first and only non-Catholic President of the Philippines. He is a Protestant and belongs to the United Methodist Church.

Early life and education

Fidel Ramos was born on March 18, 1928 in Lingayenmarker, Pangasinanmarker. His father, Narciso Ramos (1900-1986), was a lawyer, journalist and 5-term legislator of the House of Representatives, who eventually rose to the position of Secretary of Foreign Affairs. As such, Narciso Ramos was the Philippine signatory to the ASEAN declaration forged in Bangkokmarker in 1967 and was one of the founding fathers of the Liberal Party. His mother, Angela Valdez-Ramos (1905-1977), was an educator, woman suffragette and daughter of the respected Valdez clan of Batacmarker, Ilocos Nortemarker making him a second degree cousin to Ferdinand Marcos. He took his elementary education in Lingayen and secondary education at the University of the Philippines Integrated School and Centro Escolar University Integrated School.

In 1946, Ramos, barely months after enrolling in the Philippines' National University, joined the Philippine Military Academymarker as cadet and won a government scholarship to the United States Military Academymarker in West Pointmarker. He pursued further studies in engineering following his graduation from West Point in 1950, obtaining a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignmarker, where he was a government scholar in 1951. He is a licensed civil engineer in the Philippines, passing the board exams in 1953 and finishing in the top 10. In 1960, he topped Special Forces-Psy Operations-Airborne course at the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Braggmarker, North Carolina.

Ramos also holds a Master's Degree in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines and a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from the Ateneo de Manila Universitymarker.

Military career

In his military career, Ramos rose from 2nd Lieutenant infantry platoon leader in the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) in 1952 during the Korean War to Chief of Staff of the Philippine Civil Action Group to Vietnammarker from 1966 to 1968. He is instrumental in founding the Philippine Army Special Forces, an elite paratroop unit skilled in community development as well as fighting communist insurgents.

Ramos, along with the Philippines' 20th Battalion Combat Team and his fellow West Point graduates of the 1950s, fought in the Korean War. Ramos was one of the heroes of the Battle of Hill Eerie,where he led his platoon to sabotage the enemy in Hill Eerie. He was also present in the Vietnam War as a non-combat civil military engineer.

Ramos has received several military awards including the Philippine Legion of Honor, the Distinguished Conduct Star, Philippine Military Merit Medal, the United States Legion of Merit, the French Legion of Honor and the U.S. Military Academy Distinguished Graduate Award.

Ramos served the Marcos regime for more than 20 years. He was head of the Philippine Constabulary, the country's national police force, and was one of Marcos' trusted advisers, for which he was known as a member of the Rolex 12, an elite group of loyal to Marcos himself. When it became apparent that Marcos rigged the 1986 snap Presidential Elections, Ramos, together with Marcos' Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, changed allegiance and sided with opposition leader Corazon Aquino This marked the beginning of the People Power Revolution, and their move became the living symbol of military defiance against Marcos. The military followed his lead and swung the pendulum in Aquino's favor.

After Aquino assumed the Presidency, she appointed Ramos Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and later Secretary of National Defense. During this time, Ramos personally handled the military operations that crushed nine coup attempts against the Aquino government. During Ramos' presidency, the National Unification Commission was created, and its chairman Haydee Yorac, together with Ramos, recommended to President Aquino that she grant amnesty to the rebel military officers of the Reform the Armed forces Movement (RAM) led by Col. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan.

Combat record

When belittled by the press regarding his combat record, Ramos responded with trademark sarcasm (July 31, 1987):I fought the communists as part of the battalion combat teams, I went up the ladder. Battalion staff officer. Company commander. Task Force commander. Special Forces group commander. Brigade commander. All in different periods in our country. Huk campaign. Korean War campaign. The Vietnam War, and I was the head of the advance party of the PHILCAG (Philippine Civil Action Group to Vietnam) that went to a tiny province at the Cambodian border - the so-called Alligator Jaw - War Zone Z where even Max Soliven said ‘The Viet-Cong will eat us up.’ Of course, we were physically there as non-combat troops. But you try to be a non-combat troop in a combat area - that is the toughest kind of assignment.
Korea - as a platoon leader.
Recon leader.
What is the job of a recon leader?
To recon the front line - no man’s land.
And what did we do?
I had to assault a fortified position of the Chinese communists and wiped them out.
And what is this Special Forces group that we commanded in the Army - '62-'65?
That was the only remaining combat unit in the Philippine Army.
The rest were training in a division set-up.
We were in Luzonmarker.
We were in Sulumarker.
And then, during the previous regime, Marawimarker incident.
Who was sent there?
Ramos.
We defended the camp, being besieged by 400 rebels.
So next time, look at the man’s record, don't just write and write.
You said, no combat experience, no combat experience.
Look around you who comes from the platoon, who rose to battalion staff, company commander, group commander, which is like a battalion, brigade commander, here and abroad.
Abroad, I never had an abroad assignment that was not combat.
NO SOFT JOBS FOR RAMOS.
Thirty-seven years in the Armed Forces.
REMEMBER THAT.
You’re only writing about the fringe, but do not allow yourself to destroy the armed forces by those guys.
You write about the majority of the Armed Forces who are on the job.
That's why we're here enjoying our freedom, ladies and gentlemen.
You are here.
If the majority of the Armed Forces did not do their job, I doubt very much if you’d all be here.


1992 Presidential Elections

In December 1991, Ramos declared his candidacy for President. He however, lost the nomination of the dominant party Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) to House Speaker Ramon Mitra, Jr. Days later, he bolted LDP and founded the Partido Lakas Tao (People Power Party), inviting Cebumarker Governor Emilio Mario Osmeña as his Vice President. The party formed a coalition with the National Union of Christian Democrats (NUCD) of Senator Raul Manglapus and the United Muslim Democrats of the Philippines (UMDP) of Ambassador Sanchez Ali. Ramos and Osmeña, together with Congressman (later House Speaker) Jose de Venecia, campaigned for economic reforms and improved national security and unity. He was nicknamed "Steady Eddie" as he campaigned well and gained a growing popularity during the campaign with support from President Aquino.

He won the seven-way race on May 11, 1992, narrowly defeating populist Agrarian Reform Secretary Miriam Defensor Santiago. Despite winning, he garnered only 23.58% of the vote, the lowest plurality in the country's history. The election results were marred by allegations of fraud, though cheating on a large scale has not been proven. However, his running mate, Governor Osmeña, lost to Senator Joseph Estrada as Vice President.

Presidency

At the time of his assumption into power, Ramos was the oldest person to become President of the Philippines at the age of 64. He is also the first Protestant President of the country and the only Filipino officer in history to have held every rank in the Philippine military from Second Lieutenant to Commander-in-Chief. The first few years of his administration (1992-1995) were characterized by economic boom, technological development, political stability and efficient delivery of basic needs to the people. During his time, he advocated party platforms as outline and agenda for governance. As in his case, he was the first Christian Democrat to be elected in the country, being the founder of Lakas-CMD (Christian-Muslim Democrats Party). He was the one of the most influential leaders and the unofficial spokesman of liberal democracy in Asia.

Power crisis

The Philippines then was experiencing widespread brownouts due to huge demand for electricity and antiquity of power plants. During his State of the Nation address on July 27, 1992, he requested that the Congress enact a law that would create an Energy Department that would plan and manage the Philippines' energy demands. Congress not only created an Energy Department but gave him special emergency powers to resolve the power crisis. Using the powers given to him, Ramos issued licenses to independent power producers (IPP) to construct power plants within 24 months. Ramos issued supply contracts that guaranteed the government would buy whatever power the IPPs produced under the contract in U.S. dollars to entice investments in power plants. This became a problem during the East Asian Financial Crisis when the demand for electricity contracted and the Philippine peso lost half of its value. This caused the Philippine price of electricity to become the second-highest in Asia, after Japan.

The country was considered risky by investors due to previous coup attempts by military adventurists led by Gregorio Honasan, and experienced brownouts at an almost daily basis lasting 4–12 hours during the term of President Aquino. The low supply of power and perceived instability had previously held back investments and modernization in the country. During Ramos' term, the Philippines was a pioneer in the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme where private investors are invited to build certain government projects (i.e. tollways, powerplants, railways, etc.), make money by charging users, and transfer operation to the government after a set amount of time. As there was no literature or previous experience to such a scheme, most early contracts put a large and undue amount of risk on the government in cases of unfavorable changes in the business environment.

Economic reforms

During his administration, Ramos began implementing economic reforms intended to open up the once-closed national economy, encourage private enterprise, invite more foreign and domestic investment, and reduce corruption. Ramos was also known as the most-traveled Philippine President compared to his predecessors with numerous foreign trips abroad, generating about US$ 20 billion worth of foreign investments to the Philippines. To ensure a positive financial outlook on the Philippines, Ramos led the 4th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation(APEC) Leaders' Summit in the Philippines on November 1996. He also instituted reforms in the tax system which includes a forced increase on VAT (E-VAT law) from 4% to 10% mandated by World Bank and the International Monetary Fundmarker.

Under his administration, the Philippines enjoyed economic growth and stability. The Philippine Stock Exchange in the mid-1990s was one of the best in the world and his visions of 'Philippines 2000' that led the country into a newly industrialized country in the world and the "Tiger Cub Economy in Asia".

Philippines 2000 Five-Point Program:
  • Peace and Stability
  • Economic Growth and Sustainable Development
  • Energy and Power Generation
  • Environmental Protection
  • Streamlined Bureaucracy


Death penalty

While campaigning for the presidency, Fidel Ramos declared his support for reinstating the death penalty. Capital punishment was abolished for all crimes in 1987, making the Philippines the first Asian country to do so. In 1996 Ramos signed a bill that returned capital punishment with the electric chair (method used from 1923 to 1976, making Philippines the only country to do so outside U.S.) "until the gas chamber could be installed". However, no one was electrocuted nor gassed, because the previously-used chair was destroyed earlier and the Philippines adopted the lethal injection. Some people were put to death by this means, until the death penalty was reabolished again in 2006.

Peace with separatists

Ramos, a military general himself, made peace with the rebel panels. He was instrumental in the signing of the final peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) led by Nur Misuari in 1996. He also ordered the resumption of peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) led by Salamat Hashim and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front, which operates the New People's Army, led by Jose Maria Sison.

Although he battled Communist rebels as a young lieutenant in the 1950s, Ramos made a bold move when he signed into law Republic Act 7636, which repealed the Anti-Subversion Law. With its repeal, membership in the once-outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines became legal.

Spratly Islands

In early 1995, the Philippines discovered a primitive Chinese military structure on Mischief Reef in the Spratly Island, one hundred and thirty nautical miles off the coast of Palawanmarker. The Philippine government issued a formal protest over Chinamarker's occupation of the reef and the Philippine Navy arrested sixty-two Chinese fishermen at Half Moon Shoal, eighty kilometers from Palawanmarker. A week later, following confirmation from surveillance pictures that the structures were of military design, President Fidel Ramos had the military forces in the region strengthened. He ordered the Philippine Air Force to dispatch five F-5 fighters backed by four jet trainers and two helicopters, while the navy sent two additional ships. The People’s Republic of Chinamarker had claimed that the structures were shelters for fishermen but these small incidents could have triggered a war in the South China Seamarker.

Migrant Workers Protection

One of the downturns of his administration was his experience in handling migrant workers protection. On the eve of his 67th birthday on March 17, 1995, Ramos was on a foreign trip when Flor Contemplación was hanged in Singaporemarker. His last minute effort to negotiate with Singapore President Ong Teng Cheong and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong never succeeded and he was marred with protests after his return to Manilamarker. The protests also caused the resignation of Foreign Affairs Secretary Roberto Romulo and Labor Secretary Nieves Confesor from the Cabinet. He immediately recalled Philippine ambassador to Singapore Alicia Ramos and suspended diplomatic relations to Singaporemarker. He created a special commission to look into the case and to try and rescue his sagging popularity. The commission was led by retired justice Emilio Gancayco. The Commission recommended the forced resignation of then Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) head David Corpin and 13 other government officials, including two labor attachés.

As also recommended by the Gancayco Commission, Ramos facilitated the enactment of Republic Act 8042, better known as the Magna Carta for Overseas Workers or the Migrant Workers Act. The Migrant Workers Act was signed into law on June 7, 1995. Learning from the lessons of Contemplación case, Ramos immediately ordered UAEmarker Ambassador Roy Señeres to facilitate negotiations after learning the death penalty verdict of Sarah Balabagan on September 1995. Balabagan's sentence was lowered and she was released August 1996. After tensions cooled off, Ramos restored diplomatic relations with Singaporemarker after meeting Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong during the sidelines of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in New York Citymarker.

Asian Financial Crisis

The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, which started in Thailand, was a major blow to the Ramos administration. The economy was hit by currency devaluation. The same was true for the Thai bhat, Malaysia ringgit and Indonesia rupiah. Growth fell to about -0.6% in 1998 from 5.2% in 1997, but recovered to 3.4% by 1999. It also resulted to the shut down of some businesses, a decline in importation, rise unemployment rate and unstable financial sector.

Controversies

Clark Centennial Expo Scandal

Supposedly, one of his notable contributions to the Philippines was the revival of nationalistic spirit by embarking on a massive promotion campaign for the centennial of Philippine Independence celebrated on June 12, 1998. However, charges of alleged massive corruption or misuse of funds blemished the resulting programs and various projects, one of which was the Centennial Expo and Amphitheater at the former Clark Air Basemarker in Angeles Citymarker, Pampangamarker, supposedly Ramos' pet project. The commemorative projects, particularly those undertaken at the former Clark Air Base, were hounded by illegal electioneering and corruption controversies even years after the Centennial celebrations. A special report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) showed how the projects relating to the Expo site not only revealed the extravagance and inefficiency of the administration, but also served as convenient vehicle to effect election fund-raising for the LAKAS political party of Ramos at the expense of the tax-paying Filipinos and in violation of the Election Code. The Centennial Expo Pilipino project, intended to be the centerpiece for the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the country's independence from Spain, also earned extensive criticisms for being an expensive white elephant project that disadvantaged the government at the cost of P9 billion, or 1.7 percent of the country's 1998 national budget. Six ranking Ramos cabinet members and officials, headed by Chairman Salvador Laurel (former Vice-President) of the Centennial Commission were cleared by the Ombudsman and Sandigan Bayan (People's Court). Ramos appeared before a Congressional Committee in October 1998 to help exonerate said officials of any wrong-doing.

PEA-Amari Scandal

President Fidel Ramos was accused of corruption in the PEA-Amari deal. The controversial deal involved the acquisition of 158 hectares of reclaimed land on Manila Bay that was to be converted into so-called Freedom Islands. The deal was forged in April 1995 as part of the Ramos administration's Manila Bay Master Development Plan (MBMDP).

The PEA-Amari deal – in addition to other projects in Manila Bay - displaced over 3,000 fishing and coastal families in Manila Bay just to give way to what fisherfolk activists from Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) described as “an immoral, illegal and grossly unconstitutional state venture". The Ramos administration was accused of selling out the government's interests by favoring Amari Coastal Bay Resources and Filinvest Development—topping off a growing list of other corporate beneficiaries—over higher bidders in various lucrative real estate development schemes. Data obtained from Public Estate Authority (PEA) revealed that the property was sold to Amari for P1.9 billion or P 1,200 pesos per square meter although the value of properties in adjacent areas were pegged at P90,000 per square meter. The Senate in its inquiry in 1998 found a paper trail representing commissions paid to certain PEA officials amounting to P1.7 billion.
 Ramos denied accusations that the PEA-Amari deal was clinched to benefit members of the ruling Lakas-NUCD as alleged by opposition groups. However, ex- solicitor general Franciso Chavez filed a petition to nullify the PEA-Amari deal because the government stood to lose billions of pesos in the sale of reclaimed lands to Amari.


On April 25, 1995, PEA entered into a joint venture with Amari to develop Freedom Islands and on June 8 of the same year, Ramos okayed deal. On November 29, 1996, then-Senate President Ernesto Maceda delivered a privilege speech assailing the deal as the "grandmother of all scams".

Charter Change

During his final years in office, Ramos tried to amend the country's 1987 constitution; a process popularly known to many Filipinos as Charter Change or the so-called "Cha-Cha". Widespread protests led by Corazon Aquino and the Catholic Church stopped him from pushing through with the plan. Political analysts were divided as to whether Ramos really wanted to use Cha-Cha to extend his presidency or merely to imbalance his opponents, as the next presidential election neared. Ocol testified before a Senate blue ribbon committee that people in the former Clark Air Base during the Centennial Expo preparations desperately tried to produce all ways and money to prevent Estrada from winning in the coming May 1998 elections. Estrada served as mayor for many years before being elected senator, and then as vice-president; Ramo was a military man his whole life before Corazon Aquino supported his presidential candidacy, in gratitude for helping thwart coup attempts against her administration.

Post-Presidency and Maintained Political Clout



In January 2001, Ramos was instrumental in the success of the so-called second EDSA Revolution that deposed the properly elected Philippine president Joseph Estrada and placed then-Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the presidential seat. Dubbed by advocates as a four-day peaceful revolt, EDSA 2 was reported by the international media—such as the International Herald Tribune and New York Times—as an undemocratic coup made possible by the encouragement of Ramos, Cory Aquino, and Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jaime Sin, along with the opportunist coalition of business elites and leftist groups. Estrada also later accused Ramos of conspiring to oust him after the former set up a fact-finding body tasked to investigate Ramos' role in the Centennial Expo scandal. Ramos is currently the Chairman Emeritus of the Lakas CMD (Christian-Muslim Democrats) Party, formerly known as Lakas NUCD-UMDP or the Partido Lakas Tao-National Union of Christian Democrats-Union of Muslim Democrats of the Philippines.

At the height of the election-rigging scandal in July 2005, Ramos publicly convinced President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo not to resign from office. Ramos, who was also hounded by charges of electoral fraud during the 1992 elections which were never proven in the Supreme Court, repeatedly stated that the scandal is nowhere as grave as that of People Power Revolutions of 1986 and 2001, citing factors such as the stagnant Philippine economy in the final years of the Marcos regime as well as the allegedly massive corruption of the Estrada administration. Revealing his considerable influence over Arroyo due to his continued clout over the military, he managed, however, to push Arroyo into explaining her vocal involvement in the wiretapped conversation with the election official, Virgilio Garcillano.

Ramos also unveiled his proposals for constitutional change of the country. Citing the need to be more economically competitive in the midst of globalization and the need to improve governance for all Filipinos, Ramos suggested that government should start the process of charter change with a set deadline in 2007 (by which time the new charter and new government will take effect). Ramos supports the transformation of the country's political system from the Philippine presidential-bicameral-system into a unicameral parliament in transition to a federal form. This expressed support is widely viewed with suspicions as a vehicle to promote Ramos continued extra-legal interference in government affairs so as to prevent future non-friendly administrations from opening further investigations into the Centennial Expo, PEA-Amari, and Benpres-North Luzon Expressway alleged corruption scandals of his earlier administration.

Ramos rejected invitations from the political opposition and stressed that his support is with the Arroyo administration, which he helped install into power by deposing Estrada in 2001. He claims, however, that Arroyo and her team has been sluggish in implementing the much-needed reforms which he suggested (including the need for Arroyo to step down from power in 2007). He has stated on several occasions that his support of Arroyo, which has dwindled considerably, is only incidental to his support to the national interest defined by the people's well-being, territorial integrity and the Republic's sovereignty.

He is currently representing the Philippines in the ASEAN Eminent Persons Group, tasked to draft the Charter of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). He was also a member of numerous international groups and fora, and is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Boao Forum for Asia (also one of the co-founders of BFA) and Co-Chairman of the Global Meeting of the Emerging Markets Forum (EMF). Ramos was heavily recommended for the position of the United Nations envoy to Myanmarmarker (formerly known as Burma) in June 2006. He is a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an organization which works to promote good governance around the world.He founded the Ramos Foundation for Peace and Development (RPDEV) with offices located in the Urban Bank Building (now ExportBank Plaza).

In May 2007, Ramos and Corazon Aquino joined nearly 60 former world leaders including former United States Presidents Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Tatcher, asking the Myanmar's military government for the release of detained Myanmar opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

On August 18, 2007, 24th anniversary of the death of Benigno Aquino, Jr. Ramos received a Benigno S. Aquino Jr. (BSA) Award for Nationalism from the Federation of Catholic Schools' Alumni/Alumnae Associations during the Good Citizenship Congress at the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UPNCPAG) in Quezon City. Ramos was among the 6 recipients which include former Senators Rene V. Saguisag and Wigberto Tanada, Raul Concepcion, Henrietta de Villa, and Lourdes Quezon.

Advocacies

He served as the Carlyle Group Asia Advisor Board Member until the board was disbanded in February 2004. At present, as a private citizen, Ramos is engaged in various private sector advocacies where he plays prominent roles. These include: Chairman, Ramos Peace and Development Foundation; Chairman, Boao Forum for Asia; Trustee, International Crisis Group (ICG); Member, Advisory Group, UN University for Peace; Honorary Director, General Douglas MacArthur Foundation; Founding Member, Policy Advisory Commission, World Intellectual Property Organization (PAC-WIPO); Honorary Member, World Commission on Water for the 21st Century; Member, International Advisory Council, Asia House; Patron, Opportunity International (Philippines); Global Advisor, University of Winnipegmarker; Honorary Chairman, Yuchengco Center, De La Salle Universitymarker; Member, Advisory Board, Metrobank; Honorary President, Human Development Network Philippines; Lifetime Honorary President, Christian Democrats International ; and Chairman Emeritus, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) Party.

Criticisms

Ramos in 2004
Ramos was accused of human rights violations for his role in the declaration of Martial Law during the Marcos era; he was the commanding officer of the Philippine Constabulary during Marcos time.

Like many presidents in the Philippinesmarker, Ramos was also accused of corruption. The PEA-AMARI Manila Baymarker reclamation deal, the conversion of the military base in Fort Bonifacio for private development, the Centennial Expo project and the Benpres-North Luzon Expressway have been tainted with alleged corruption. An inquiry by the Senate later produced testimonies showing how P1.7 billion in bribe money sealed the Amari deal with the Public Estates Authority and Malacañang under Ramos. Accusations were not proven to the level of Ramos but the Supreme Court ultimately voided the PEA-AMARI sale for being unconstitutional, and in early August 2008, the Sandiganbayan suspended four government auditors and five PEA officials for their role in the anomalous deal. In February 1999, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee of the 11th Congress recommended the prosecution of ex-President Ramos and eight others for “technical malversation or misapplication of public funds” in connection with Centennial Expo scam, a recommendation not approved by the Senate, but pursued in the Sandigan Bayan against 6 of his high-ranking officials who were eventually exonerated. Ramos was eventually cleared by Ombudsman Aniano Desierto, a Ramos appointee who refused to inhibit himself from hearing the high-profile case.

Leftist groups have also criticised Ramos' economic reforms such as privatization, deregulation and trade liberalization, claiming that the economic growth posted during his presidency was "artificial." They blamed him for the slowdown of the Philippine economy during the 1997 East Asian financial crisis. The sale of 40% of Petron to Aramco is specifically criticized for resulting to the lost of the government's effective leverage on domestic oil prices. A longstanding criticism of Ramos was whether his role in the Estrada ouster was motivated by his fear of being prosecuted in connection with the Centennial Expo and other scams. When Estrada was given executive clemency after having been found guilty of plunder by the special Sandiganbayan court in September 2007, Ramos heavily criticized Arroyo's decision. Estrada's son, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, retaliated by asking Ramos to first "come clean" on the alleged multi-billion-peso anomalies involved in the PEA-AMARI, IPP and other deals negotiated during his term.

Facts

  • His father, Narciso Ramos, was a lawyer, crusading journalist and a five-term legislator (representing Pangasinan) in the House of Representatives. He served eight Philippine Presidents as a Congressman, as a Secretary of National Defense, as a Secretary of Foreign Affairs, as an Ambassador/Diplomat and as a Philippine Delegate in several international meetings. Historically, Narciso Ramos was the Philippine founding signatory to the ASEAN declaration forged in Bangkok, Thailand on 1967.
  • His sister, Leticia Ramos-Shahani, was a politician and a writer. She had represented the Philippines in the United Nations becoming the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Social and Humanitarian Affairs; she was later elected Senator in the Philippines, and rose to Senate President Pro-Tempore position during her brother’s presidency.
  • When he returned home in 1993 from the United Statesmarker, he rode on the first Boeing 747-400 of PAL during the plane's delivery flight
  • In 2000, Fidel Ramos (Class 1950) alongside fellow members of the Long Gray Line and West Pointers - fellow Korean War veteran U.S. Air Force Colonel/Astronaut Edwin Aldrin (Class 1951) and American General Frederick M. Franks, Jr. (1959), were awarded Distinguished Graduate Award from the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy in the West Point, USA.
  • In the Korean War, Lieutenant Fidel Ramos lead a United Nations Filipino Platoon (20th BCT PEFTOK-UNC) on May 21, 1951 to victory at the Battle of Hill Eerie and established a United Nation post in the infamous hill.
  • Fidel Ramos belongs to the modern generation of Asian leaders in the 20th century - Mahathir bin Muhammad (Malaysiamarker), Lee Kuan Yew (Singaporemarker), Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX of Thailand), King Norodom Sihanouk (Cambodiamarker), Lee Teng-hui (Taiwanmarker), Soeharto (Indonesiamarker) and Jiang Zemin (Chinamarker), all were born in the decade of 1920s.
  • During his presidency, Ramos was featured in the main and cover story of TIME Magazine, May 15, 1995, lauding him for his "no-nonsense leadership" after years of misrule by his predecessors, showing that "democracy is no enemy of development." While NEWSWEEK Magazine christened the Philippines as "Asia's New Tiger" in its cover story on November 25, 1996. It details how President Ramos transformed the country from the "Sickman of Asia" to an Economic Tiger. Ramos was also featured in Readers' Digest Cover Story in mid-1996, "The man atop Asia next Economic Tiger".
  • He is currently the only man in Philippine history to have risen held every officer rank in the Philippine military from Second Lieutenant to Commander-in-Chief.
  • He was an alumnus of Alpha Phi Omega.


References

  1. "Philippines 'restores' death penalty"
  2. "Moves to revive the Anti-Subversion Law"
  3. "Centennial Expo: Convenient Cover for Election Fundraising"
  4. PEA scandal
  5. "Manila Journal; People Power 2: A Sleeping Giant Is Awakened." The New York Times (September 22, 1997). Retrieved on August 24, 2008
  6. Welcome to GLF Global Leadership Foundation
  7. "Philippines left confronts the economic crisis"


Sources

  • Fidel Ramos Curiculum Vitae
  • Westpoint Distinguished Graduate Award: DGA Fidel Ramos
  • Bardos, Phil, Cold War Warriors: The Story of the Achievements and Leadership of the Men of the West Point Class of 1950, (United States, 2000)
  • Bowring, Philip. "Filipino Democracy Needs Stronger Institutions." 2001, January 22. International Herald Tribune. Retrieved August 24, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/22/opinion/22iht-edbow.t_3.html
  • "Church, elite, Ramos ousted me, says Estrada." SunStar Network Online. (2006, June 1). Retrieved August 24, 2008: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/net/2006/06/01/church.elite.ramos.ousted.me.says.estrada.html
  • Fernandez, Butch. "Ramos told to come clean before hitting Palace pardon for Erap." (2007, November2-3). Business Mirror. Retrieved August 24, 2008: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/1102&032007/nation01.html.
  • Florentino-Hofilena and Ian Sayson. Centennial Expo: Convenient Cover for Election Fundraising. (1999, June 14-16). Retrieved August 24, 2008 from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism: http://www.pcij.org/stories/1999/expo.html.
  • Johnson, Bryan, Four Days of Courage: The Untold Story of the Fall of Ferdinand Marcos, (Toronto, Canada, 1987)
  • Cal, Ben, FVR Through the Years, (Washington D.C., USA, 1998)
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