Ramos was a 'problem solver,' could be among top 10 presidents: historian

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2022 12:39 PM | Updated as of Aug 01 2022 05:09 PM

Former President Fidel Ramos and Former Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohamad headline the ASEAN Leaders Forum held at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati, October 12, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Former President Fidel Ramos and Former Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohamad headline the ASEAN Leaders Forum held at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati, October 12, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Former President Fidel V. Ramos was a "problem solver" and could easily be included in the "top 10" chief executives of the nation, historian Xiao Chua said Monday.

Ramos passed away at 94 years old, his family confirmed Sunday.

Ramos served as the country's Chief Executive from 1992 to 1998, succeeding Corazon Aquino as the country's second president after the People Power Revolution.

His administration was best known for its "Philippines 2000" program, often credited with revitalizing the country's economy.

"I would credit him as a problem solver. He tried to solve problems before him, the Cory Aquino administration. There were a lot of problems because it's really hard to restore democracy," Chua told ANC's Headstart.

"He was for me one of the top 10 presidents of the Philippines in terms of administration because he had a goal...that’s what presidents should be, they should have goals and they should try to reach those goals, and communicate well."

Ramos was a communicator and had "respect for media," Chua said. 

"He was patola but not pikon, even in criticisms. He did not jail anyone for writing whatever, he did not pressure the press. That's why even those critical of him can say nice words to him," he said.

"He had missteps as a president but more or less people will be fair to him, I guess. They will recognize there were some missteps but they will also recognize he was quite nice."

Ramos was charming and amiable to the people around him, Chua added.

"He was not really a populist because he was seen as a technocrat," he said. 

Ramos "in a way" redeemed himself after serving as the Philippine Constabulary chief under his second cousin, former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., Chua said.

"He tried to keep the spirit of People Power alive and that is commendable," he said. "In many ways he was consistent, (Juan Ponce) Enrile was more critical of People Power narrative."

Chua said Ramos had pushed for the death penalty and ironically once said that among of his greatest challenges as president was the case of domestic worker Flor Contemplacion, who was executed in Singapore for murder.

"You have to emphasize the context of 1990s, there was so much kidnappings, crime happening…He was not a Catholic so definitely he had no hangups in the death penalty. He believed in the justice system," the historian said.

"In all fairness to him he did not implement, it was Joseph Estrada who was able to implement the death penalty," he said.

There was also stability under Ramos' administration, Chua said.

"He projected a positive image of the country and he projected a positive image that we can do it. A lot of people actually, despite the fact he was not really a populist, really felt we were in good hands at the time," he said.

"That reminds us of the value of being a consensus builder in a time now that there's so much toxicity, division and nastiness. That we can do things together despite the fact we don't belong in the same party."

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