Former Philippine President Ramos, a warrior and survivor, dies at the age of 94

Ramos became a hero to many for his defection from the Marcos government, as he commanded the national police force, which led to the dictator’s downfall during the 1986 popular uprising against his rule.

However, others would not forgive or forget his role in implementing martial law under the Marcos regime.

Ramos, who in later years became famous for his possession of unlit cigars, narrowly won the 1992 elections to replace People’s Power leader Corazon Aquino who ousted Marcos. Despite receiving less than 23% of the vote, Ramos quickly garnered 66% of support and his presidency is remembered for a period of peace, stability, and growth.

“Our family shares the grief of the Filipino people on this sad day. We have not only lost a good leader but also a family member,” Marcos’ son, newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., said in a statement.

“The legacy of his presidency will always be cherished and forever cherished in the grateful hearts of our nation.”

Known as FVR, Ramos attended the US Military Academy at West Point and fought in the Korean War in the 1950s as a platoon leader. He served in the late 1960s in Vietnam as the leader of the Philippine Civil Action Group.

Ramos held every rank in the Philippine Army from second lieutenant to commander in chief. He never lost his military might and never evaded him, boasting several times that “there are no simple jobs for Ramos.”

The son of a former diplomat became the only Methodist leader of the Roman Catholic majority country.

His six-year administration opened the country’s economy to foreign investment through liberalization and liberalization policies.

Ramos dismantled the monopolies in the transport and communications sectors. Through special powers granted by Congress, he restored the faltering electricity sector, putting an end to the 12-hour blackouts that had plagued the country.

During his tenure, the economy rebounded and poverty rates fell to 31% from 39% with his social reform agenda.

Ramos fought right, left, and Islamist rebels during his time in the army, but later held peace talks with all “enemies of the state,” including rogue soldiers who tried nearly a dozen times to overthrow Aquino during her tenure.

He signed a peace deal with Islamist separatists from the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996 and succeeded in reducing the number of Maoist-led rebels to more than 5,400 from 25,000 in early 1986.

Ramos was an athletic leader and a multitasking workaholic. When he was army chief, he played golf and jogged at the same time, running behind the ball. His early morning jog was legendary among his staff officers, and even at his 80s, he was jumping to reenact what he did during the 1986 revolution.

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