Former President Fidel V. Ramos turns 93 today with an exclusive birthday celebration with his family due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the one year mark this week in the Philippines with Cely Dimaculangan, Ramos’ spokesperson, said the former military and defense chief had been in self-quarantine since the deadly coronavirus hit Philippine shores from Wuhan, China.
Ramos, born in Asingan, Pangasinan to Narciso Ramos, who served the Marcos administration as Foreign Secretary, and the former Angela Marcos Valdez, first cousin of Mariano Marcos, father of Ferdinand Marcos, of Ilocos Norte.
According to Dimaculangan, “The ex-president spends most of his time with his family now. As his exercise he walks around the garden every morning to have sunlight.
“In addition he reads books and newspapers, watches television, and listens to the radio to keep him abreast of the latest news day in and day out. That is his routine.”
Dimaculangan added “what is amazing about FVR is that he has retained his memory in perfect condition, remembering all the names of his friends, chatting with them over the phone, and his update of (sic) what is happening in the news here and abroad.”
Physically, FVR is careful in his movement because of his age, but mentally he is alert, she said.
With COVID still around, his doctors have advised the Ramos not to go out, or go to his Makati office, Dimaculangan said.
The last time he was in his RPDev office was last February when he met with his close friends, including Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana, now the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and this writer.
When FVR saw Sobejana entering the office, he said “Gen. Sobejana, the Medal of Valor awardee” and they shook hands.
It was FVR, who awarded the Medal of Valor, to Sobejana on Dec. 21, 1996 for exceptional bravery in combat against the notorious Abu Sayyaf terrorists during a five-hour gun battle in Basilan in 1995, killing 42 of the bandits.
Ramos studied and graduated at West Point in New York in 1950, and immediately volunteered to go to Korea during the Korean War from June 1950 to July 1953 where he led a platoon from the Philippine Expedition Force to Korea (PEFTOK) in the conquest of the heavily fortified Chinese forces in Eerie Hill in Korea.
After the Korean War, Ramos returned to the Philippines where he fought against the Huks, guerrilla troops fighting against Japanese forces, before volunteering to Vietnam during the Vietnam War as operations officer of the Philippine Civic Action Group (PHILCAG) to Vietnam from 1966-69.
As President from 1992 to 1998, Ramos instituted many reforms that enabled the Philippines to recover its economy, particularly the restoration of electricity in Metro Manila and nearby province suffering from power blackout. PNA