Families and loved ones of former President Fidel V. Ramos held a solemn tribute for the late leader on Monday night, with notable personalities and people who worked closely with Ramos during his presidency sharing their fond memories of him.
Those who personally paid their last respects included businessmen and brothers Jaime Agusto and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, former Social Security System (SSS) chairman Renato Valencia, former presidential adviser for Mindanao Paul Dominguez and former Foreign Affairs secretary Delia Albert.
Andion Fernandez, a Filipino-Spanish operatic soprano, also performed Ramos’ favorite songs, including Maalaala Mo Kaya; while the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) band also rendered its final performance for their former commander-in-chief.
In his remark, Jaime Agusto described Ramos as “a man who led by example” and “who lived a life in selfless service to the nation.” Fernando, meanwhile, said Ramos “established solid foundations for the country’s future.”
When the former leader saw the looming water crisis, he enabled the private sector to offer its expertise on the matter, which eventually led to reduction in water losses as well as affordability of the country’s water.
“FVR cared, dared and shared” was how Albert remembered Ramos.
Albert said Ramos cared for his family, his people and his country as he dared to effect “major changes” in the country’s political history. As president, he also shared all “that he could give of himself” to the people and the country.
On top of managing a professional bureaucracy, Ramos led a “faithful implementation of the foreign policy,” Albert said.
The tribute program was held at Heritage Memorial Park prior to Ramos’ inurnment on Tuesday at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where he would be given full military honors. The two-and-a-half-hour tribute began at 6 p.m., with his grandchildren starting and ending the program.
Two resolutions, coming from the Philippine Red Cross and the local government of Muntinlupa City that separately honored Ramos, were also read. Muntinlupa Mayor Ruffy Biazon was also present at the program, along with the members of the city council.
Several video tributes were also played, including a message from Rev. Fr. Aloy Maranan, Rector-President of San Beda University, who described Ramos as having “high regard for divine providence” and being a “godly person.”
From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Ramos’ wake was opened to the public for viewing. It was followed by a service mass at 5 p.m. before the tribute program was held.
Ramos died on July 31 at the age of 94 due to complications from Covid-19.