Fidel Ramos, former Philippine leader who helped oust Marcos, dies aged 94 | CNN


Former Philippine President Fidel Valdez Ramos, who died on Sunday, was a fighter during wars in Korea and Vietnam and a survivor in the political arena. He came from a high security role during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. the highest office in the country. He was 94.

Ramos became a hero to many because he defected from the Marcos government, where he led the National Police and instigated the dictator’s downfall during the 1986 popular uprising against his rule.

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

Ramos, famous in later years for holding unlit cigars, narrowly won a contentious election in 1992 to replace People Power leader Corazon Aquino who dethroned Marcos. Although he received less than 23% of the vote, Ramos quickly gained 66% support and his presidency was remembered for a period of peace, stability and growth.

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

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

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

Ramos held every rank in the Philippine military, from second lieutenant to commander in chief. He never lost his military stance and swagger, often boasting, “No soft jobs for Ramos.”

The son of the former diplomat became the sole Methodist leader of the predominantly Roman Catholic country.

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

Ramos ended the monopolies in the transport and communication sectors. Through special powers granted by Congress, he restored the ailing electricity sector and ended the grueling 12-hour blackout that plagued the country.

During his tenure, the economy skyrocketed and poverty rates fell from 39% to 31% through his Social Reform Agenda.

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

He signed a peace agreement with the Islamist separatists of the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996 and managed to reduce the number of Maoist guerrilla fighters to more than 5,400 rebels, from 25,000 in early 1986.

Ramos was a multi-tasking workaholic and athletic leader. When he was an army chief, he played golf and jogged at the same time, running after his ball. His early morning jog was legendary among his staff officers, and even at age 80, he would jump to reenact what he did during the 1986 uprising.

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