MANILA — Former President Fidel V. Ramos on Sunday cited President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s effort in “transforming” the Philippines as an exemplar among the 193 member-nations of the United Nations (UN).
Ramos made the statement in a speech during the launching of his latest book “Proper thy Neighbor” at the Centennial Room of the Manila Hotel.
Ramos presented his book to Duterte, who acknowledged by executing a salute to the former Chief Executive, to which the latter also replied with a salute.
In his speech, Duterte said “FVR is my favorite President.”
The book launching also coincided with the award and testimonial for Ramos by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), recognizing Ramos’ contribution to the country during his watch as president from 1992-1998.
Also part of the program were testimonials by doctor Angel Alcala and former foreign affairs chief Perfecto R. Yasay Jr., while Bishop Melzar D. Labuntog, UCCP general secretary, delivered an inspirational talk.
He said Duterte “is on the verge of achieving the transformation of the Philippines into an exemplar among the 193-member-nations of the UN. But he must make a 90-degree turn to assume the harder role of ‘Skipper of the Ship’ away from the traditional position of ‘Command-in-Chief’ which emphasizes the military and police.”
Ramos said the President’s term is a “wonderful opportunity to ‘receive the baton’ of responsible governance and leadership from the Filipino people who have done their share of national building, and to continue to strive for humankind’s never-ending aspiration for a better future.”
“Such an important role as ‘Master of the Fate’ of 105 million Filipinos plus thousands of foreign allies who are now the passengers of our Ship of State ‘Pilipinas’ now developed by PRRD (President Duterte) as skipper of our weather-beaten, constantly embattled, but still seaworthy and proud Ship of State,” Ramos said.
Ramos added that in September 2015, the UN has set the roadmap for developed, developing and undeveloped countries by adopting the UN 2030 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ramos said the first SDG is eliminating poverty, which is a fundamental universal problem, while SDG No. 17 “calls for greater world cooperation and mutual support in the face of today’s massive threats of natural and man-made disasters.” (Ben Cal/PNA)