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Period of national mourning declared for Fidel V. Ramos

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Period of national mourning declared for Fidel V. Ramos
In this Nov. 21, 2016 photo, former President Fidel V. Ramos faced the members of the media in a press conference he considered as a protest in Makati City.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos has declared 10 days of national mourning for former president Fidel Ramos, who died on Sunday reportedly due to complications from COVID-19.

Marcos declared July 31 to Aug. 9 as a period of national mourning for Ramos, the 12th president of the Philippines who led the country from 1992 to 1998.

“As provided for by law, the national flag shall be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on all government buildings and installations throughout the Philippines and abroad for a period of 10 days,” Marcos’ proclamation, signed on July 31, read.

Section 23(a) Chapter 1 of Republic Act 8491 or the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines,” provides that the flag shall be flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning at all buildings and places where it is displayed on the day of official announcements of the death of a former president for 10 days.

Marcos said the death of Ramos is a “great loss” to the country and the Filipino people. “It is fitting to devote a period of national mourning to pay tribute to an esteemed leader who has dedicated his life to public service and has left a lasting remark on our country,” the President said.

Ramos served as secretary of national defense from 1988 to 1991, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from 1986 to 1988, and chief of the Philippine Constabulary from 1972 to 1986.

Various government offices offered condolences and sent messages of remembrance for the former president.

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) honored Ramos and said the Philippine flag at the OVP office shall be in half-mast until Ramos’ burial to “exhibit the symbol of mourning.”

Vice President Sara Duterte mourned the passing of Ramos and hailed the late chief executive as champion of peace and economic stability. “I convey my deepest condolences to the bereaved family of former President Fidel V. Ramos,” Duterte said.

“I am one with the whole nation in grieving over the loss of a leader who, during his presidency, made peace possible in Mindanao. In 1996, he signed the peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which ended the 24-year Moro armed revolution headed by Nur Misuari,” Duterte added.

The Department of Education (DepEd), also headed by Duterte, said that the Philippine flag in all DepEd offices would be flown at half-mast until after the burial.

Philippine flags at all military camps nationwide are now on half-mast in salute to Ramos, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar announced, as they prepared to render traditional military funeral services as a final salute to the former commander-in-chief.

Cannons were fired yesterday morning in honor and as salute to the former president at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

All Philippine flags in courthouses would be flown at half-mast, the Supreme Court said, expressing its sincerest condolences to the Ramos family. “To honor his memory and in recognition of his services to the nation, the Philippine Flag in all courthouses shall be flown at half-mast,” the SC said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs also mourned the passing Ramos, whom it called the “foreign policy” president, noting that his visits to foreign countries during his six-year term offered multilateral and economic diplomacy, and raised the profile of the Philippines in the region and globally.

Contribution to the economy

Socioeconomic Planning Chief Arsenio Balisacan vowed to continue the legacy of former president Ramos as he offered his deepest condolences to the family of the former president.

Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity Carlito Galvez, Jr. said Ramos would be remembered for his major contributions to the Philippine peace process.

Condolences and praises continue to pour in for former president Ramos, with both the Senate and Congress adopting resolutions honoring the late president.

The Senate adopted a consolidated Resolution, seeking to express its “profound sympathy and sincere condolences.”

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, one of the authors of the resolution, said “Ramos may have left office almost a quarter of a century ago, but the way he discharged his duties and dignified the presidency will stay in our memories forever.”

For its part, the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Martin Romualdez expressed its condolences through House Resolution 120.

Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte credited Ramos for being the father of deregulation of several industries, while Bulacan Rep. Salvador Pleyto Jr. said “We’ve lost a doer and builder, and a consensus-builder as well.”

Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles also joined his colleagues in mourning the death of “one of the country’s greatest leaders” while Ang Probinsiyano party-list Rep. Alfred delos Santos said Ramos was the typical ‘probinsiyano’ president who brought government closer to the people during his Palace stint from 1992 to 1998.

Pangasinan Rep. de Venecia, son of former Speaker Jose de Venecia, recalled his younger years when the ex-president and his father were still stalwarts of the Lakas-CMD political party that they formed.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said Ramos was a “staunch advocate” of family planning and reproductive health (RH) while House Deputy Minority Leader Bernadette Herrera said it was during Ramos’ leadership when the “Philippines experienced a period of political stability and rapid economic growth.”

Duterte saddened

Former president Rodrigo Duterte also expressed “deep sadness” over the death of former president Ramos, whom he called a great statesman, a friend, and mentor.

“It is with deep sadness to learn of the death of former president Fidel Valdez Ramos. I am one with his wife, Ming, his family, his friends, and the entire Filipino people in mourning the death of a great statesman, mentor, and friend,” Duterte wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

In a Facebook post, former vice president Leni Robredo also expressed condolences to the Ramos family. “Arrived Manila with the sad news of FVR’s passing. Our family mourns his death and remembers what his presidency meant in the post dictatorship presidency,” Robredo posted on Facebook.

The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) likewise expressed its condolences and cited his contributions to policy reforms that have benefited the economy while the Management Association of the Philippines remembered the former president as an “epitome of management excellence for nation-building.”

CBCP: One of the best

Meanwhile, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Public Affairs Committee (PAC) executive secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano remembered Ramos as “arguably one of the best leaders our country had.”

Labor group Federation of Free Workers yesterday expressed their grief over the passing of Ramos, noting that he launched the Social Reform Agenda, which led to the creation of the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

During a memorial mass for former Corazon Aquino’s 13th death anniversary, the Aquino family paid tribute to Ramos, the police general-turned-president, who like Aquino, was hailed as one of the heroes of the 1986 EDSA people power revolution.

“We also remember today in a special way, President Fidel Ramos, who passed away yesterday. President Ramos was instrumental in the restoration of our democracy during the EDSA revolution, its defense amid attempts to overthrow it throw it during our Lola’s presidency, and its deepening through his relentless pursuit of peace and development during his own presidency and beyond.”

“We join the country and praying for him and his family during this difficult time,” said Aquino’s grandson Francis “Kiko” Dee, speaking on behalf of his aunts Ballsy, Pinky and Kris, and his mother, Viel. According to published sources, when asked if Aquino asked him for anything in exchange for her endorsement, Ramos said, “Ah walang ganoon (Nothing of the sort).” – Elizabeth Marcelo, Rainier Allan Ronda, Michael Punongbayan, Evelyn Macairan, Jose Rodel Clapano, Mayen Jaymalin, Pia Lee Brago, Catherine Talavera, Delon Porcalla, Sheila Crisostomo, Paolo Romero, Joanne Rae Ramirez

FIDEL RAMOS

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