The late President Fidel V. Ramos’ charisma and openness to the media as a devoted public servant for nearly half a century easily made him a “Darling of the Press.”
Ramos, who was popularly called FVR, his initials, or “Steady Eddie” by his peers in the military and police because of his calmness in handling difficult national security matters, died on July 31 at a ripe old age of 94.
Journalists who had covered FVR when he was still in active military service, in the defense department, and later as the 12th President of the Republic of the Philippines, visited his wake at the Heritage Chapel in Taguig City last Friday where they paid tribute to his many accomplishments to nation building.
Former members of the Malacanang Press Corps and Defense Press Corps cited FVR’s unrivaled openness to media—holding a weekly press conference and answering all questions thrown at him, and politely declining to respond, with a smile, if the query would compromise national security.
During his six-year term as President, members of the Malacanang Press Corps, including this writer, were provided one Fokker plane of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) for out-of-town trips.
A known workaholic, FVR also allowed ambush interviews. He made the media feel relaxed with his jokes and called the reporters by their first names.
After he bowed out from government service in 1998, FVR continued his service to the country by writing a column in the Manila Bulletin and made suggestions on dealing with national issues.
The public viewing of the urn containing FVR’s ashes will continue from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. today (Monday), at Chapels 2 to 4 at the Heritage Park in Taguig City.
Visitors are advised to observe the minimum public health standards—including wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing.
Ramos will be accorded a state funeral with full military honors on August 9 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.