Known as “steady Eddie” for his calm resolve in the face of upheavals, Ramos’ six-year presidential term witnessed peace and prosperity. But many remember him for his military role under ex-dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Philippines’ former President Fidel Ramos, who oversaw a stable tenure following the upheaval which peaked with the overthrow of a dictatorial regime, died on Sunday aged 94.
Known as “steady Eddie” for his calm resolve in the face of turmoil, Ramos’ six-year presidential term witnessed peace, stability and prosperity.
Before leading his country, Ramos had enjoyed a distinguished military career. And while many remember him for his political achievements, others cannot forget the role he played in enforcing martial law under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
The press office of Ferdinand Marcos jr., the dictator’s son and namesake who was sworn in as the country’s president at the end of June, mourned Ramos’ death.
“He leaves behind a colourful legacy and a secure place in history for his participation in the great changes of our country, both as military officer and chief executive.”
A veteran of the Korean war, Ramos put his military career on the line in 1986, when he joined the rebellion against Marcos. He also inspired many others to join the rebellion, which drove Marcos’ family into exile.
Ramos was elected as president in 1992, replacing Corazon Aquino who presided over the country after Marcos’ ouster.
Six years of peace and stability
Ramos’ prosperous tenure constituted an open economy where deregulation and liberalization policies encouraged foreign investments.
A social reform agenda he oversaw created a decline in poverty rates from 39% to 31%. He was also credited for ending the country’s power crisis, marked by frequent and long electricity outages.
On the political front, Ramos is remembered for orchestrating peace talks with different factions dubbed “enemies of the state.”
He extended offers of peace with his government to communist guerrillas, and Muslim and military separatists. Only the communists turned down his offers.
The former president fought hard to distance himself from Marcos’ rule of abuses. He stressed that his role in leading the military and police revolt that eventually toppled the dictator was his “atonement.”