By FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER JOSE C. DE VENECIA, JR.
We are proud and commend our dear friend Ramon Ang, president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corporation, for his dynamic support and generous financial contribution in our country’s fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Don Ramon Ang’s total donation has amounted to a staggering nearly P900 million.
Don Ramon, a visionary business leader, has made a generous personal donation of P100 million on top of the earlier allocation made by his company: P500 million for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and some P200 million worth of food items.
Other donations of San Miguel Corporation included P38 million worth of rice, P38.9 million worth of alcohol, and P1.1 million in the free use of tollways.
With all the fears and uncertainties as well as the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) brought about by the global COVID-19 plague, our beloved former President Fidel V. Ramos’ 92nd birthday went under our radar last March 18, 2020.
Former President Ramos, hero of the Edsa People Power Revolution, served our country with great distinction, as a military officer who eventually became chief of staff of the Armed Forces, secretary of defense, and president of the Philippines. Even after serving as president, he continues to serve our country, Asia, and the international community, advancing the causes of peace, security, democracy and development, among others.
He and this columnist, together with the late Senator and Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul Manglapus, father of Christian Democracy in Asia, founded the Lakas-NUCD-UMDP (National Union of Christian Democrats-United Muslim Democrats of the Philippines), which became then former Defense Secretary Ramos’ political vehicle, which catapulted him to Malacanang.
We were also privileged to have been elected twice as speaker of the House of Representatives, from 1992 to 1995, and from 1995 to 1998, during the Ramos presidency.
Not too many people know, however, that the Ramos and De Venecia families’ ties go back many decades. Before the outbreak of World War II, our respective fathers, who were lawyers, both worked in the law office of Teofilo Sison, who became governor of Pangasinan, senator, and secretary of defense during the Philippine Commonwealth.
Narciso Ramos eventually became a congressman and foreign affairs secretary, while my father, Jose de Venecia Sr. served as provincial fiscal, then Court of First Instance (CFI) judge.
Many years later, in the mid-1960s, FVR and we crossed paths again in South Vietnam. We were then minister and economic and press counselor at the Philippine Embassy in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh), and Ramos a major with the Philippine Civic Action Group (Philcag).
We remember that whenever we visited the Philcag headquarters in Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, FVR would always remind us to put on our fatigues and a helmet, as the Vietcong snipers could spot us from several hundred meters away.
In the midst of the anxieties and sufferings in our country and the world brought about by the widespread scourge, we wish to greet everyone a Happy Easter.
The pandemic has struck fear in everyone’s heart, but let us continue to keep our faith and storm heavens with prayers that we shall survive this crisis and emerge a better and stronger people.