MANILA -- At 91, former president Fidel V. Ramos has retained his sharp mind and memory through the years when he called names of his friends, one at a time, as they greeted him happy birthday on Monday.
“It is just fantastic that FVR still remembers our names,” his colleagues in the military and former cabinet officials said as they sang the birthday song to celebrate his 91st natal day at his office in Makati City.
“Good to see you Gen. Joe Magno, Gen. Joe Almonte, Gen. Charlie Tanega, Gen. Ramon Montano, Gen. Hermogenes Ebdane, Gen. Sonny Razon, Gen. Umberto Rodriguez, Secretary Ruben Torres, Ambassador Jun Paynor and Mel Bergado,” Ramos said.
Although his physical condition is not as sturdy as before when he can still do 20 push-ups, Ramos can still walk around without any help.
Raising his right hand with a thumb’s up sign, his favorite sign, to rally and inspire the Filipino people to work hard to overcome obstacles, saying “kaya natin ito” (we can do it).
During the birthday party, Ramos greeted and shook hands with visitors and at the same time calling their names.
His sharp memory has enabled him to remember to the last detail what occurred decades ago.
“Live a long life,” is what Ramos replied when asked of his birthday wish.
During the birthday party, he and his wife, former First Lady Ming Ramos, thanked their guests for coming to join the birthday celebration of the former Chief Executive.
Ramos was elected President in 1992 and was credited for solving the electricity crisis that hit the country.
Another milestone of his presidency was when the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) signed a peace agreement in 1997.
Ramos, together with then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, played a key role in the EDSA People Power revolution in 1986 that toppled the 20-year rule of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos that restored democracy in the Philippines.
As a soldier, Ramos saw action during the Korean War where he led his troops in overrunning the strategic Eerie Hill following a day-long gun battle.
Ramos also saw action in fighting the Huk insurgency in Central Luzon before he volunteered for Vietnam during the Vietnam War where he and thousands of Filipino soldiers conducted civic action that assisted the Vietnamese displaced in the fighting.
As chief of the Philippine Constabulary, the forerunner of the Philippine National Police, Ramos was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Star, the second highest military award, when he led his troops in defending Camp Amai Pakpak in Marawi City against Muslim rebels on October 22, 1972.
On the lighter side, Ramos is known for his bundle of jokes to keep him alive and kicking all these years. (PNA)