Ex-President FVR laid to rest with full honors; Pope expresses deepest sympathies

THE FORMER PRESIDENT Fidel V. Ramos gets state funeral, full military honors at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

TAGUIG CITY – Former president Fidel V. Ramos’ cremated remains were inurned at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Taguig City on August 9.

Ramos, the country’s 12th president who served from 1992 to 1998, was accorded a state funeral with full military honors.

Earlier, Pope Francis expressed his deepest sympathies to the country and the family of the late president who was a Protestant.

In his letter to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Holy Father acknowledged the contributions of the former chief executive in promoting values of peace in the nation.

“Upon learning of the death of former President Fidel V. Ramos, I extend to You and to the People of the Philippines heartfelt condolences and assurance of my prayers,” the pontiff said in the letter dated August 8.

The Pope said he will also pray for Ramos’ soul and his family.

“I commend his soul to the mercy of Almighty God, upon President Ramos’ family and all who mourn his passing, I invoke the Divine Blessing of consolation of peace,” Pope Francis added.

A private Mass was held at the Heritage Park in Taguig City before Ramos’ inurnment at the LNMB.

There was also a funeral procession to the presidential grave site. Flowers were dropped during the funeral procession.

A burial ceremony was likewise held before Ramos was laid to rest at Section A of LNMB where presidents are buried.

There was a 21-gun salute, followed by the turnover of the Philippine flag to the Ramos family, lowering of the urn, and flower offering.

The former president’s urn was placed inside his tomb around 11: 43 a.m. and sealed around 11:45 a.m. concluding the ceremony.

The 21-gun salute is the highest honor a nation can provide to anyone.

Ramos’ favorite music was also played during the burial rites.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. attended the funeral rites and sat beside Ramos’ widow and former First Lady Amelita “Ming” Martinez-Ramos.

Marcos  later turned over the Philippine flag, which was earlier draped on Ramos’ casket, to the former first lady.

The former First Lady thanked guests for honoring her late husband.

She also spoke about the difficulties her husband and their family experienced when Ramos was still in the military.

Mahirap ang buhay sa military pero kinaya namin. Tumulong si President Ramos. Kayang-kaya niya (Life in the military was tough, but we were able to make it. President Ramos helped. He was able to do it). He was able to raise five daughters, eight grandsons, and five granddaughters,” she said.

She admitted that it was “hard to adjust”, especially since her husband was often away from their family.

Mahirap mag-adjust. Dalawang taon nasa bahay siya. Dalawang taon nasa probinsya. Tapos nag-volunteer pa siya dalawang taon sa Vietnam (It was hard to adjust. He stayed home for two years. Another two years in the province. And he volunteered for another two years in Vietnam),” she added.

Martinez-Ramos ended her speech thanking guests anew and quoted her late husband’s primary battlecry.

“…Maraming salamat sa tulong niyo at sabi niya ‘Kaya natin ito.’ Maraming salamat. Kaya ba natin? Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat (Thank you for all your help and he said ‘We can do it.” Thank you. Can we do it? Thank you very much),” she said.

Before becoming president, Ramos was part of the Philippine combat contingent that fought in the Korean War and was also involved in the Vietnam War as a non-combat civil military engineer.

He was also chief of the then-Philippine Constabulary from 1972 to 1986, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from 1986 to 1988, and Secretary of National Defense from 1988 to 1991 before being elected as the country’s chief executive in 1992.

Fans and supporters of the late president lined up along Bayani Road, outside the Heritage Park, to pay their respects and wave flags with a picture of Ramos as his funeral convoy departed to the Libingan ng mga Bayani.