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Former Philippine President Ramos, a fighter and survivor, passes away at 94

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - The late former president of the Philippines, Fidel Valdez Ramos , was a combatant in the Korean and Viet...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - The late former president of the Philippines, Fidel Valdez Ramos, was a combatant in the Korean and Vietnam wars and a political survivor who rose from a high-ranking security position under Ferdinand Marcos Sr. to win the election for the position of the country's highest office. He was 94.

Ramos rose to fame as a result of his defection from the Marcos administration, where he oversaw the national police, which ultimately led to the dictator's overthrow in the 1986 revolt against his authority.

Others, though, would never forget or forgive him for his part in the imposition of martial law during the Marcos era.

Ramos, who became famous in later years for smoking unlit cigars, narrowly defeated Corazon Aquino in a contentious election to succeed Marcos. Ramos won less than 23 percent of the popular vote, but he quickly reached 66 percent popularity, and his presidency is seen as one of peace, stability, and progress.

"On this tragic day, our family grieves alongside the people of the Philippines. We lost a family member in addition to a capable leader, "President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who was just elected, said in a statement.

"Our thankful nation will always remember and forever commemorate his presidency in its hearts," the statement continued.

Ramos, also known as FVR, served as a platoon leader in the Korean War in the 1950s while attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He led the Philippine Civil Action Group in Vietnam in the latter half of the 1960s.

From second lieutenant to commander-in-chief, Ramos served in every position in the Philippine army. He frequently boasted, "No soft jobs for Ramos," maintaining his military posture and bravado.

The son of the former diplomat became the sole Methodist official in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

His six-year administration deregulated and liberalised the economy of the nation, allowing for foreign investment.

Ramos dismantled monopolies in the communications and transportation industries. Through the use of unique powers provided by Congress, he revived the nation's failing electrical industry and put a stop to the crippling 12-hour power outages that had been occurring.

Through the implementation of his Social Reform Agenda, the economy flourished and the poverty rate dropped from 39% to 31% during his administration.

While serving in the military, Ramos engaged in combat with right-wing, left-wing, and Islamic insurgents. However, after his discharge, he engaged in peace negotiations with all "enemies of the state," including rogue soldiers who made almost a dozen unsuccessful attempts to overthrow Aquino.

In 1996, he negotiated a peace treaty with the Islamic separatists of the Moro National Liberation Front, and he was successful in reducing the Maoist-led guerrilla force from a peak of 25,000 in early 1986 to more than 5,400 fighters today.

Ramos was a multitasking workaholic leader who was also athletic. When he was the military's top commander, he would play golf while jogging and chase his ball. Among his staff officers, his early morning exercise was legendary, and even at age 80, he would jump to mimic what he did during the 1986 uprising.

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