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Former Philippine president Fidel Ramos dies

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MANILA: Former Philippine president Fidel Ramos, who oversaw a rare period of steady growth and peace that won him the reputation as one of the country’s most effective leaders ever, has died aged 94, his family said on Sunday.

Known as “Steady Eddie” for his unflappable demeanour during the country’s regular moments of upheaval, he was frequently pictured chewing unlit cigars as he guided the Philippines with a sure hand from 1992-1998.

A career military man who never previously held elected office, his professorial conduct was unlike the bombastic image of many Filipino politicians.

He was also the first Protestant to win the top office in the overwhelmingly Catholic nation, despite opposition from some in the Church. He later made an aggressive push for family planning to rein in rapid population growth. But like other top officials of his generation, Ramos played a role in the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, which saw thousands killed and thousands more arbitrarily imprisoned.

In a brief statement, the Ramos family said it was “profoundly saddened” to announce the patriarch’s death. The cause was not released.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2022

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