Ramos' support for regional bloc remembered on 55th ASEAN Day

Ronron Calunsod, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2022 12:24 AM

MANILA - The late Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos’ active support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was remembered Monday, the day the bloc was founded 55 years ago in which his father played a major role.

“He was particularly proud of his father’s engagement in ASEAN in his role as one of the five founding fathers of the regional organization in 1967,” former Foreign Affairs Secretary Delia Albert said of Ramos during a tribute on the eve of his burial, which is also the 55th ASEAN Day.

“FVR consistently and actively supported the growth and development of ASEAN throughout his career in the military, as president, and later as one of the Eminent Persons who worked to draft the ASEAN Charter,” she added.

Albert headed the Department of Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2004, during the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

More than three decades before that, she served as social and appointments secretary of Ramos’ father, Narciso, while the latter was DFA chief.

The elder Ramos, who was the Philippines’ Foreign Secretary from 1966 until 1968, joined his counterparts from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in signing on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok a document that established the ASEAN.

“Uniquely placed, father and son represented two generations of leaders committed to the success of ASEAN as the leading regional organization in Asia today,” Albert said in her tribute at the wake of Ramos at the Heritage Park in Taguig City.

Incumbent Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, in his message on Aug. 1, a day after Ramos passed away, said the country’s 12th president “oversaw the beginnings of ASEAN’s expansion.”

Former Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong also remembered Ramos’ role in ASEAN.

Albert said Ramos served as chair emeritus of the private sector-led ASEAN Society so that Filipinos will understand and appreciate the regional bloc.

“To carry on his mission, the ASEAN Society-Philippines will be holding a series of memorial lectures, the Fidel V. Ramos Lecture Series on ASEAN, in partnership with private sector entities. We invite you to join us in this endeavor,” she said.

Apart from the five original member nations, ASEAN now includes Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

The grouping’s 55th founding anniversary was formally celebrated Monday in Indonesia, which hosts the ASEAN Secretariat office.

Ramos passed away on July 31 at the age of 94. He will be laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

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