Fidel Valdez Ramos, military hero of the 1986 Philippine People Power
Revolution in February 1986 and victor in the first multi-party presidential
elections of the country, became the 12th President of the Republic of the
Philippines on June 30, 1992. He has anchored his government on his
philisophy of people empowerment as the engine to "operationalize economic
growth, social equity and national solidarity."
The President took over the reins of a newly restored democracy, which he
helped recover from a 20-year dictatorship and successfully defended against a
series of adventurist military take-over attempts. Today, this non-traditional
President has made big strides in bringing about a new social and political order
by actively reaching out to even political opponents and insurgents to unite the
nation behind a common vision.
The President's framework of governance is founded on a 5-point program:
peace and stability; economic growth and sustainable development; energy and
power generation; environmental protection; and a streamlined bureaucracy.
The President was born on March 18, 1928 and grew up in Lingayen, province
of Pangasinan. His father, Narciso Ramos, was a lawyer, crusading journalist
and 5-term legislator of the House of Representatives, who eventually rose to
the position of Secretary of Foreign Affairs. As such, Narciso Ramos was the
Philippine signatory to the ASEAN decalration forged in Bangkok in 1967. The
President's mother, Angela Valdez, was an educator, woman suffragette and
daughter of the respected Valdez clan of Batac, Ilocos Norte.
In 1946, Ramos, through competitive examinations won a government
scholarship to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. Seeing the
need to help raise his country from the ruins of war, he pursued further studies in
engineering following his graduation from West Point in 1950, obtaining a
Masters Degree in Civil Engineering in the University of Illinois in 1951, still a
In his military career, Fidel "Eddie" Ramos, rose from 2nd Lieutenant infantry
platoon leader in the Philippine Expeditionary Force in 1952 during the Korean
War to Chief of Staff of the Philippine Civil Action Group to Vietnam in
1966-1968. He is also known as the "father" of Philippine Army Special
Forces, an elite paratroop unit skilled in community development as well as
fighting communist insurgents. Later, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff for
Home Defense of the Armed Forces, Chief of the Philippine Constabulary,
reaching the zenith of his military career in February 1986 when he was named
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a four-star general.
In January 1968 Fidel V. Ramos took over the stewardship of the nation's
Department of National Defense in the cabinet of President Corazon C.
Aquino. In this role, he introduced systematic response mechanisms as
concurrent head of National Disaster Coordinating Council. He provided
effective impetus to national stability programs as Vice Chairman of the National
Peace and Order Council and spurred economic activity as Cabinet Officer for
Regional Development for Region 9 in the southwestern Philippines.
President Ramos' ascent to the highest office of the land through peaceful,
democratic elections was a masterpiece of political daring and calculation. He
founded the Partido Lakas Tao (People Power Party), espousing his long-held
political doctrine of people empowerment, seeking to bring to the people
"greater control over their livelihood, culture, politics and all aspects of their
lives." He formed the winning coalition of similar parties such as the National
Union of Christian Democrats/United Muslim Democrats of the Philippines and
consolidated the strength of non-government organizations and marginalized
sectors who compose the majority of the electorate.
President Ramos is married to the former Amelita "Ming" Martinez and they
have 5 daughters. Mrs. Ramos is herself a low-profile but hard-working First
Lady, whose long experience in education, sports development and plant
propagation has enabled her to spearhead projects in environmental protection,
culture and arts development, and livelihood generation.
The six-year term of President Ramos is looked upon with much optimism, not
only for his clear vision of the future but also his hands-on style of leadership in
addressing the challenges facing the Filipino nation. As Centennial President, a
name conferred on him because his term coincides with the 100th year
anniversary in 1998 of the declaration of Philippine Independence from Spain,
the nation looks forward to attaining full political stability, sustained economic
development and social justice by the turn of the 21st century.