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Heroic funeral for former Filipino leader Ramos

#Heroic #funeral #Filipino #leader #Ramos

Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos, a soldier regarded as one of the country’s most effective leaders of all time, was buried in a somber state funeral at the National Heroes Cemetery on Tuesday.

A low-flying military helicopter dropped flowers as a wagon carrying the flag-draped coffin, which contained an urn containing his ashes, rolled through the green cemetery grounds, which were lined with white crosses marking the graves of dead soldiers also buried on the grounds were.

Acting President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. joined the former leader’s widow and relatives as the silver urn containing the cremated remains was lowered into the ground after a military parade and a 21-gun salute.

Ramos, a career soldier who enjoyed a rare period of steady growth and peace during the turbulent years following the dictatorship of Marcos Jr.’s father and namesake, died late last month at the age of 94. The cause of death was not specified.

Known as “Steady Eddie” for his unwavering demeanor in the periodic moments of upheaval in the country, he was frequently pictured munching on unlit cigars while guiding the Philippines with a sure hand from 1992-1998.

His widow, Amelita Ramos, thanked the Filipinos in a short speech at the end of the state funeral, saying soldiers like him had led a “tough life”.

“That involved difficult adjustments. He would be at home for two years and in the provinces for two years after that,” she said, barring overseas deployments in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

A graduate of the prestigious West Point military academy in the United States, Ramos also saw fighting communist guerrillas back home.

He later served as the commander of the Philippine paramilitary police force — the key agency that enforced the brutal repression of dissidents after Marcos Sr. declared martial law in 1972.

Ramos broke away from Marcos Sr. in February 1986 and supported a group of young military officers holed up in a military camp in Manila after their conspiracy to overthrow the leader through a coup was exposed.

The events, which took place amid public outrage over the 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino and the regime’s massive fraud in early elections, led to a peaceful “people power” revolt that sent the dictator into exile.

A confirmation from Corazon Aquino, the assassinated politician’s widow and the first president since Marcos, helped Ramos win a narrow presidential victory in 1992.

As president, he resolved a crippling crisis of power caused by years of underinvestment in energy and dismantled cartels in telecoms, aviation and shipping – and kick-started an ailing economy into a period of renewed growth.

He also signed peace deals with Muslim separatists and coup plotters, but communist guerrillas rejected his offers.

Ramos was also a key, early supporter of Rodrigo Duterte, who won the presidency in 2016.

The relationship quickly deteriorated as Ramos criticized Dutertes’ powerful speeches, his departure from the US alliance and his anti-drug campaign that claimed thousands of lives.

The last former president to be buried at National Heroes Cemetery was Marcos Sr. in 2016, courtesy of Duterte, who brushed aside public outrage over his plan.

Marcos Jr. won a landslide election victory last May, completing the rehabilitation of the family name.

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#Heroic #funeral #Filipino #leader #Ramos

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