GOVERNMENT officials have extended condolences on the passing of former President Fidel V. Ramos.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Ramos’ legacy “will always be cherished and will be forever enshrined in the hearts of our grateful nation.”

“I extend my deepest condolences to the family of former President Fidel Valdez Ramos who passed away today having lived a full life as a military officer and public servant,” Marcos said in a Facebook post on Sunday, July 31, 2022.

“Our family shares the Filipino people’s grief on this sad day. We did not only lose a good leader but also a member of the family,” he added.

Ramos, 94, died on July 31 due to complications brought about by coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

He served as the country’s top government official from 1992 to 1998. Due to his efforts, the country regained the confidence of the investors following the Martial Law under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the current president’s father.

For her part, Vice President Sara Duterte expressed grief as she credited Ramos for making “peace possible in Mindanao” after signing a peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front that ended the 24-year Moro armed revolution headed by Nur Misuari.

“FVR aggressively championed Filipino competitiveness in the global arena and through his socioeconomic agenda called ‘Philippines 2000,’ liberalized the country’s economy — resulting in the significant improvements in the average income of Filipino workers,” said Duterte.

“He was a real patriot—one who encouraged men and women in uniform to value their integrity as public servants,” she added.

Duterte said she is hoping that Filipinos will find inspiration from Ramos’ life and the immensity of the legacy “that he built out of his love of country and fellow Filipinos.”

Lawmakers also expressed grief over the passing of Ramos.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri filed a resolution expressing the Senate’s condolences on Ramos’ death.

Zubiri described Ramos as a “gallant, dutiful and decorated soldier.” Ramos, a former soldier, fought during the Korean War in 1952.

Zubiri hailed Ramos for navigating the country’s economy during the 1997 East Asia Financial Crisis, steering the Philippines’ recovery efforts and turning the Sick Man of Asia into Asia’s Next Tiger Economy.

While Sen. Grace Poe described Ramos as a “steadfast leader and democracy icon.”

Other lawmakers issued their respective statements extending condolences to the bereaved family.

In Cebu, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and City Councilor Nerissa Soon-Ruiz talked about Ramos’ contributions to the country’s development.

Cortes described Ramos as a “national treasure,” citing his big contributions to improving the country’s economy back then.

The Ramos administration was noted for adopting the “comprehensive reform strategy,” where the economy was opened for competition to reduce macroeconomic imbalances and address structural rigidities, among others.

Cortes said the initiative had a huge impact in terms of improving the country’s economy and regulating the increasing prices of commodities during his time.

For her part, Soon-Ruiz looked back on the days when she was the representative of Cebu’s Sixth District from 1992 to 1998, during which Ramos served as the country’s president.

Soon-Ruiz described Ramos as a “hardworking leader,” stressing that he never said no to all the programs she proposed for Cebu’s Sixth District back then, particularly programs concerning the youth, such as her district-wide milk-feeding program.

The city councilor also cited two important bills prioritizing public health that were implemented during Ramos’ term. These were the Act for Salt Iodization Nationwide (Asin) Law in 1995 and the National Blood Services Act of 1994.

The Asin Law entitles an additional requirement of iodine to all salt intended for animal and human consumption to eliminate micronutrient malnutrition.

The National Blood Services Act ensures a sufficient supply of safe blood to regulate blood banks and create public awareness that a blood donation is a humanitarian act.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Education and Supreme Court also expressed mourning over Ramos’ passing. (TPM, HIC / SunStar Philippines)