MANILA – The Senate on Monday unanimously approved a resolution expressing their sympathy and sincere condolences on the death of former President Fidel Valdez Ramos, the 12th President of the Republic of the Philippines.
Earlier, the Senate placed the Philippine flag at half-mast during the flag raising ceremony and is expected to last for 10 days as provided under Republic Act No. 8491 accorded to incumbent and former Presidents, while the Vice President, Chief Justice,, Senate President and House Speaker for seven days.
Ramos passed away on Sunday at the age of 94.
Before the start of the session, senators offered a prayer to the late President headed by Senate President Pro Tempore Senator Loren Legarda.,
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, in his resolution, said the Ramos administration from 1992 to 1998 is known for the program "Philippines 2000", which envisioned the country to be newly industrialized by the year 2000, for instituting economic reforms which drove investments in the country to surge, and for navigating the Philippine economy during the 1997 East Asia Financial crisis, steering our country 's effort and turning the sick man of Asia into Asia's next Tiger economy,.
For his part, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III extended his deepest condolences to the family and all the loved ones of former President Ramos, the father of the Edsa Revolution and the man who once turned the Philippines as Asia’s Economic Tiger.
"President FVR shall be remembered as the man who sincerely pursued people empowerment and implemented many reforms and innovative ideas such as the Build Operate Transfer Law. Rest in peace President Ramos. Please say hello to my Tatay Nene (Aquilino Pimentel Jr.) in heaven." Pimentel said.
Senator Sonny Angara, on the other hand, said the late President Ramos’ success in leveraging a minority mandate into major reform victories shows the way on how crucial changes in governance can be done. He did it through consultations, by listening, and by reaching out to all stakeholders, even to those who are not in his camp.
"To channel good ideas to a forum where these can be discussed, he (Ramos) created with my late father (then Senate President Ed Angara) sounding boards like the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council or the LEDAC. He was the leader “who cast a wide net in order to haul in great ideas.” Angara said.
He said the late President used his expertise in the military in cobbling together many ragtag units into one cohesive fighting force in building the same coalition when he became president and even assembled a senatorial slate that was considered a team of rivals.
"Hindi nya sinupil ang opposition (He did not suppress the opposition). Instead of curtailing constructive criticisms, he cultivated it. And he took action on complaints through handwritten orders to the concerned agencies." Angara added.
Earlier, Senator Ramon Bong Revilla described the late President as his mentor when he was then Vice Governor of Cavite and they both belong to LAKAS-NUCD, the ruling party at that time.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, on the other hand, described the former President as a major game-changer during the People Power Revolution, encouraging many other longer-standing freedom fighters, and laid down a strong foundation for political recovery and economic stability, which reinvigorated a country emerging from the very dark shadow of the Martial Law dictatorship.
"I also echo his belief that land reform and strengthening agriculture are pillars of peace in the rural areas. President Ramos saw tillers owning their own land as being fundamental to deepening Philippine democracy. Peace and stability, which took top priority in his 5-point program, also set the stage for talks and negotiations with separatist groups, which broke down barriers and led to a landmark peace agreement." Hontiveros said.
President Ramos can also be remembered as the architect for building peace among the Moro rebels when he initiated peace talks with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996.
"The Filipino people lived in a time of hope during former President Fidel Valdez Ramos’ tenure. FVR oversaw massive economic gains for the country that were translated to programs for the welfare of the people. He also successfully brokered peace with rebel groups, extending the hand of peace with programs that sought to address the roots of discontent." Sen. Nancy Binay said.
Senator Raffy Tulfo, meanwhile, shared his experience when he was a TV reporter assigned in Malacañang.
"Bibingka. Sinasabi niya na ang bibingka ay tulad ng bayan niya na may apoy sa ilalim, ibig sabihin mga local government units (LGU's) ang apoy at ang apoy naman sa ibabaw ng bibingka ay ang national government (Rice cake. Mr. Ramos said that the Philippines is like a rice cake with fire under it, meaning LGUs are the fire under and the national government above it)" Tulfo said.
Sen. Robinhood "Robin" Padilla speaking in Filipino thanked the former President who granted him parole and helped in the establishment of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
"Ito ay isang ganap at pamana para sa lahat na mga Filipino na ama ng pangkapayapaan ang dating Pangulo, Nais ko ipagpatuloy ang inumpisahan niya -- ang rebisyon ng saligang-batas hindi sa pagpapalawig ng termino kundi ang pagkabuhay ng rebolusyonaryong pagbabago (This is a legacy for all Filipinos that the former President is the father of peace. I want to continue what he has started -- the revolutionary change)," Padilla said. (Leonel M. Abasola/PNA)