FVR Library & Museum in Lingayen pushed

By Ben Cal

October 5, 2018, 1:32 pm

<p><em>Former president Fidel V. Ramos</em></p>

Former president Fidel V. Ramos

MANILA – A resolution is pending in Congress calling for the establishment of a library and museum in honor of former president Fidel V. Ramos, the 12th President of the Philippines, in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

The resolution, under House Bill No. 8367, is authored by Rep. Leopoldo N. Bataoil of the second district of Pangasinan.

In filing the resolution, Bataoil called on fellow lawmakers in both houses of Congress for the immediate approval of the resolution for the establishment of the FVR Library and Museum to perpetuate the legacy of Ramos.

Ramos had been a public servant for almost five decades, six years of which as President of the Philippines, 40 years as a soldier, who fought the Huks and saw action during the Korean War in the early 1950s, and later in the Vietnam War as a civic action officer in the mid 60s.

A graduate of the U.S. West Point Academy, class 1950, Ramos was a young 2nd Lieutenant volunteered and a member of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK), under which, he had his baptism of fire, particularly the Eerie Hill battle where he led a platoon from the 20th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) in conquering the strategic hill occupied by Chinese forces following a bloody gun battle.

After returning from Korea, Ramos found himself in another battle, containing the Huk rebellion in Luzon before he volunteered to go to South Vietnam as a member of the Philippine Civic Action Group (PHILCAG) engaged in civic action works, such as medical mission and building infrastructure projects to alleviate the sufferings of the Vietnamese people, especially the civilians caught in the fighting.

During his long years as a soldier, Ramos rose to become acgeneral of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), being the chief of the Philippine Constabulary (PC)-- the predecessor of the Philippine National Police (PNP)-- and concurrent AFP vice chief of staff.

It was during his stint as PC chief that Ramos focused his military service in helping contain the rebellion mounted by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the 1970s to mid 1980s.

Despite the danger during the Mindanao fighting, Ramos always made it a point to go to the war-torn southern Philippines, visiting the troops in far-flung areas, particularly on the islands of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi-Tawi and Basilan, the sanctuaries of MNLF rebels.

One of the most classic gun battles during the Mindanao war erupted in Marawi on Oct. 22, 1972 when Ramos cut short his visit to Cebu City after he received an urgent message that the PC camp in Amai Pakpak in Marawi City was under attack by Moro rebels.

Ramos flew to Marawi to be with his troops. During the fierce fighting, Ramos stuck with the soldiers composed of PC and Marine troops until the enemy retreated, leaving behind their dead comrades.

In filing the bill, Bataoil, a retired two-star police general and house committee chair on Veterans’ Affairs, took cognizance of the nationalism of the former president and also as chief of staff of the AFP with the rank of a four-star general, and former defense secretary during the administration of President Corazon C. Aquino.

Bataoil said that as a public servant, Ramos’ achievements "cannot be over emphasized."

“Known as one of the heroes of the 1986 People Power Revolution, FVR, as he is more popularly called, embodies the virtues and inimitable characteristics of a statesman, soldier and citizen,” Bataoil said.

“His achievements must be properly enshrined and carefully documented for the benefit and knowledge of generations to come. For this purpose, a library dedicated to his honor must be established and located in his hometown or any place significant to him such as his birthplace in Lingayen, Pangasinan,” Bataoil added.

The FVR Library and Museum shall be placed under the supervision of the National Library of the Philippines and shall be the sole custodian and repository of all materials and items related to the former president.

The bill on the establishment of the FVR Library and Museum is expected to be certified as urgent by President Rodrigo R. Duterte and could likely have smooth sailing in the lower house under former president and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

If approved, the legacy of former president Ramos will certainly be housed in one establishment - similar to the presidential libraries and museums in the United States - where items, memorabilia, books, letters, videos and other objects and items will be kept safe, well protected and promoted.

“At the ripe age of 90, FVR continues to soldier on as a senior statesman and a grateful nation owes him a debt of gratitude for his service, honor and duty to our beloved nation. This FVR Library and Museum is the best gift we can think of to honor his legacy,” Bataoil said. (PNA)