Press Releases

Salceda on FVR: Mentor, model, “untiring hands find their rest”

August 1st, 2022

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) has called Former President Fidel V. Ramos a “mentor and a model for my life in public service” in response to reports of the latter’s passing due to complications brought about by COVID-19.

“The former President helped birth my career in public service. During the peak of my career in private sector as an analyst, President Ramos would consult me on matters of national concern. That was when I became convinced that I could serve the country in a greater way. Just as he was leaving office, I ran for Congressman in Albay,” Salceda said.

“FVR is also family to me. He, together with Sen. Letty Shahani, considers our Sarte clan as family because one of my uncles married his first cousin, Angelita Lizardo. So, he always felt at home seeking my advice visiting our hometown Polangui several times.”

“FVR was possibly first President who was a serious policy wonk. He was someone who understood the complex workings of the economy in an instinctive manner. In terms of policy, he was the most consistent and methodical. He knew what he wanted to do, and he tried to do it,” Salceda said.

“Without FVR, we would not have been able to solidify the bedrock of investor confidence that has since allowed the country to grow its economy for decades. Ramos equaled economic reform. The Ramos brand was a brand of seriousness in governance. Business knew he meant business,” Salceda added.

“We would have had a much weaker recovery from the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis if not for FVR’s reforms, primarily to set our country’s finances right. PGMA would have had a much bigger mess to clean up, and our two decades of uninterrupted GDP growth prior to the COVID-19 pandemic may not have materialized.”

“When FVR talked of nation-building, and he talked a great deal about it, you knew it wasn’t hollow ostentatious talk. He meant what he was saying, and you took him seriously.”

Salceda says that Ramos was his “model for unceasing restlessness in public service and public life. In office, he was the first to arise and get to work, and was often also the last to leave. Even after retirement, he kept his sharpness of wit and wisdom intact.”

“With FVR, you also felt like you were facing someone who was a witness to history. The man was born during the Commonwealth Era, went to West Point, fought heroically in the Korean War, and played a leading role in the most momentous events of the country’s modern history. Whether you were on his side or not, you knew he was formidable,” Salceda said.

“His death, in many ways, is the end of an era. As the country reevaluates his times, he will no longer see this country’s destiny – a destiny he had nonetheless helped shape, as both critics and sympathizers would acknowledge.”

“And so, with his passing, his restless hands – hands that helped shape a nation’s modern history – finally take their rest. Those of us who learned from and worked with the man are left to ponder his legacy and carry on his work of nation-building. May we continue to work, and may he find his rest.”

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