What could Marcos Jr. learn from Fidel Ramos?


Posted at Aug 09 2022 05:55 PM

RTVM screengrab
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. salutes during the state funeral for the late President Fidel V. Ramos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Aug. 9, 2022. RTVM screengrab

MANILA — If there's one thing President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. can learn from the leadership of late President Fidel V. Ramos, it is to engage.

That's according to Nieves Confesor, a labor secretary during the Ramos administration.

"When I look at this President, I said I wish you would engage. I wish you would bring your Cabinet... everywhere," she told ANC on Tuesday.

Ramos held Cabinet meetings outside the capital, Confesor noted. 

"Why is that? Because he knew that he didn’t have a feel of the ground if he stays in Malacañang," she said. "Right now, Malacanang is not the best nerve center of what's going in our country."

Confesor remembers Ramos for his 24/7 work ethic as president. 

She said Ramos hated the phrase "trickle down" when it came to government services because he believed Filipinos should not wait for aid to arrive, especially coming from the people-led revolt of 1986.

Confesor also called Ramos a great listener.

"He was learning from them (various groups). He was learning how it was affecting them. That's why to me he has big ears," she said.

Being a "minority President" also pushed Ramos to deliver on his promises, Confesor said. The former Defense secretary only led by some 800,000 votes from his closest rival in the 7-way race. 

"He knew the rest of the country wasn't his," Confesor said. 

She said during his term in office, Ramos was "saddest" when domestic worker Flor Contemplacion was executed in Singapore in 1995. 

"He had an election on his lap at the same time and he couldn’t juggle the balls as efficiently as before. His heart went out to every migrant worker, to every Filipino worker at that time," she added.

After serving the Ramos administration, Confesor said what she appreciated from the former President was his being forthright.

"He was just simple. He said what he meant," she said.

"[His battle cry] Kaya natin ito was his act of leadership. He was calling on hope and this President must learn how to do that," she added.

A career soldier who oversaw a rare period of steady growth and peace in the turbulent years that followed the dictatorship of Marcos Jr.'s father and namesake, Ramos died late last month aged 94. The cause of death was not specified.

Ramos was interred at the National Heroes Cemetery on Tuesday in a sombre state burial.

—With a report from Agence France-Presse

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