With full military honors, FVR laid to rest at Libingan ng mga Bayani

Raffy Cabristante and Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2022 12:48 PM | Updated as of Aug 09 2022 06:20 PM

Flowers are offered at the grave of former President  FVR ABS-CBN News
Flowers are offered at the grave of former President Fidel V. Ramos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on August 9, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

President Marcos attends state funeral 

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — Fidel V. Ramos, the Philippines' 12th president, was laid to rest at the Philippines' heroes cemetery on Tuesday.

Ramos' ashes were inurned at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where he was accorded full military honors, a tribute to his career as a decorated military officer, Korean War veteran, and former commander-in-chief.

More than 1,000 military personnel comprised the contingent that brought Ramos' ashes from the Heritage Park in Taguig to the Libingan ng mga Bayani. This was preceded by a private mass by the Ramos family.

Ramos' ashes, surrounded by white flowers, were transported to his final resting place past 10 a.m., with supporters clad in white greeting the funeral hearse and waving flags with the words "paalam at salamat, FVR."

Supporters wait for the funeral convoy of former President Fidel V. Ramos along Bayani road in Taguig City on August 9, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Supporters wait for the funeral convoy of former President Fidel V. Ramos along Bayani road in Taguig City on August 9, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

A 21-gun salute, with a 5-second interval, was also given to Ramos. His granddaughter, Leanna Sembrano, carried his urn to the gravesite.

The Philippine flag, which had been beside Ramos' urn, was also given to his widow Ming by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who made a last-minute appearance at the state funeral. 

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Ramos' favorite songs, "Maalaala Mo Kaya" and "Alerta, Katipunan," were played by the military band.

His funeral took place on the last day of the 10-day period of national mourning that started on July 31, when Ramos passed away at the age of 94.

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Ming thanked those who came to the burial of her late husband and reiterated his iconic slogan "Kaya Natin Ito." 

During her message, the former first lady cited the difficulties of her husband serving in the military. 

"Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat sa tulong n'yo. Alam n'yo, mahirap ang buhay sa military. Pero kinaya namin. Tumulong si President Ramos. Kayang kaya niya, at he was able to raise 5 daughters, 8 grandsons, and 5 granddaughters," she said.

(Thank you for your help. The life in the military was difficult but we were able to do surpass it. President Ramos helped. He did it and was able to raise 5 daughters, 8 grandsons, and 5 granddaughters.)

"Mahirap mag-adjust. Dalawang taon nasa bahay siya. Dalawang taon nasa probinsya. Tapos nag-volunteer pa siya, 2 taon sa Vietnam. Kaya maraming salamat sa tulong n'yo. At sabi niya, kaya natin ito," she added. "Kaya ba natin?"

(It was difficult to adjust. He was at home 2 years, and another 2 years in the province. He also volunteered 2 years in Vietnam. Thank you for your help and just like what he said, 'We can do this.' Can we do this?) 

This was the first time in more than 2 decades that a former president was given a state funeral, the highest honor given to individuals of national significance.

The last president given a state funeral was Diosdado Macapagal, who died of a heart attack in 1997 at the age of 86.

Before Ramos, the last Filipino given a state funeral was National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera last April.

National Artists and Scientists have been entitled to state funerals since 1993, thanks to an executive order that Ramos himself issued. 

TRIBUTES

In a message, Pope Francis mourned the death of the former president, and honored his legacy for his efforts in peace and democracy in the Philippines. 

"Mindful of the late president’s years of service to the nation and his efforts in fostering the values of democracy, peace, and the rule of law, I commend his soul to the mercy of Almighty God," the Pope said in his message. 

"Upon President Ramos’ family and all who mourn his passing, I invoke the divine blessings of consolation and peace."

Historian Manolo Quezon also remembered Ramos as the president who stabilized the country's democracy after it was restored in 1986.

"After the ups and downs of so long a period of dictatorship, and then the…6 years of would democracy survive or not, we craved stability and he gave it to us," Quezon said in an interview on ANC. 

Ramos also gave the country's democracy an "economic foundation," which later proved to be "enduring and modernizing."

"Any of us old enough to remember what it was like not to have a dial tone or to wait for a telephone before he was president and how we have taken communicating with each other for granted after he became president, speaks of how profoundly he changed our daily life. He was, in many ways, will always be a constant reminder of how the presidency is as much about managing people, as it is about leading people," Quezon said.

While he was known as FVR and President Ramos to many Filipinos, his grandson remembers him as the "Lolo" who had a knack for acting like a "thoughtful" librarian.

“He wasn’t the type to necessarily say straight up compliments or like hug you and kiss you and say ‘I love you’ and all that,” said Sam Ramos-Jones, the late president’s grandson. 

“But if he saw something he thought you would be interested in like reading, he made sure that there would be a personalized clipping pack that he would give you about whatever given subject,” he told reporters after the former president’s inurnment.

And just like a librarian, FVR had a collection of titles that he’d gladly share with his grandchildren only if they would fill out pseudo-library cards.

“One of the things that I bonded with him a lot is books,” Ramos-Jones said.

“We would trade book recommendations and he would always let me, still has a very full library that he would always let me steal from,” he said.

“But like a librarian, he would make me fill out a card and promise to return it,” he said, smiling fondly at the memory.

REMEMBERING RAMOS

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, which aimed to make the country industrialized by the year 2000 onwards. This program is often credited with revitalizing the country's economy.

Under his watch, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) signed a historic peace treaty with the Philippine government after 4 years of peace talks between the 2 parties.

Ramos was a former chief of the Philippine Constabulary under his second cousin, the late President Ferdinand Marcos. 

He later served as Armed Forces vice chief of staff. In 1986, he and then-Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile led disgruntled soldiers in joining the EDSA Revolution that ousted Marcos Sr. and installed Aquino to power. 

During Aquino's presidency, Ramos thwarted several coup attempts as Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff and Secretary of National Defense. 

Ramos was also instrumental in convincing President Rodrigo Duterte to run in the 2016 elections. 

He was appointed the same year as the Philippines' special envoy to China but resigned months later. 

Ramos criticized Duterte's performance in his first 100 days, including his stance on the Paris climate pact, and his move to allow Marcos Sr. to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. 

—with report from Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

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