Business groups cite FVR reforms in telco lib, Asian crisis role

BUSINESS and economic groups, in separate statements, have expressed their condolences to the family of former President Fidel V. Ramos on his passing.

The seven chambers of the Joint Foreign Chambers were among those who expressed their sympathies to the Ramos family on Monday.

In a statement, the foreign chambers said, “In 2013 we honored President Ramos by awarding him our Lifetime Achievement Award at our annual Arangkada Philippines Forum for his outstanding contributions and superb leadership over several decades to achieving highly significant and lasting institutional and policy reforms of long-term benefit to the people and economy of the Republic of the Philippines.”

The seven chambers said they remember Ramos for his strong efforts to promote foreign investment into the Philippines, to create jobs for Filipinos, and to reduce poverty in the country.

The foreign chambers called Ramos a partner in their advocacy initiatives, from his visits in their capitals in Asia, Europe, and North America, and through reform legislation which he championed through Congress.

“We join Filipino political and economic leaders in remembering the great contributions of President Ramos to making the Philippines the Asian Tiger economy that it has become to be,” said the foreign chambers in a statement.

The Joint Foreign Chambers is a coalition of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean Chambers and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc. (Pamuri).

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), in a statement on Monday, also expressed its sympathies to the loved ones of the former president.

“On behalf of the National Economic and Development Authority, I offer my deepest condolences to the family of former President Fidel V. Ramos,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan in a statement.  The Neda chief said Ramos’s “foresight and steadfastness” enabled the Philippines to weather the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and be among the continent’s “Tiger Cub Economies.”

Balisacan also noted that while he was in the academe, he saw firsthand and closely followed how Ramos’s economic and social reform agenda, which focused on opening the economy and people empowerment, “paved the way to foundational economic transformation.”

According to Balisacan, the former president also provided the country with “much-needed stability against threats from within.”

In 2015, Balisacan noted that the former president was criticized heavily for his decision to liberalize the telecommunications sector in the 1990s. However, Balisacan said, if it weren’t for that decision, the economy would not have had a business-process outsourcing (BPO) sector.

The BPO sector has been one of the, if not the biggest, contributors to the country’s economic success.

In a statement, the Secretariat of the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) said it “profoundly honors” the legacy of the former president.

Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III called Ramos a staunch pillar of support and persistent advocate for family planning and population management throughout his administration from 1992 and beyond.

“The former president’s development policy firmly put people at the center of development,” the POPCOM executive director said. “He was, during his presidency up to the last years of his active life, a firm believer of the benefits of family planning.”

Perez noted that in a keynote speech at the first National Family Planning Conference in November 2016, Ramos enjoined everyone, particularly government leaders, to support and provide the necessary political will in implementing the country’s family planning program, including the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law or Republic Act 10354.

Meanwhile,the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) said the Ramos administration “was distinguished by impressive reforms on energy, economic liberalization, infrastructure and social reform, among others.”

These key reforms “fuelled an engine for national progress” built on Ramos’ twin themes of people empowerment and global competitiveness, MAP said.

The management organization also recognized Ramos’ unifying leadership and his passion for complete staff work (CSW), which it said has become and should continue to be the benchmark for national and local governance.

“We indeed lost a great Filipino leader, statesman, peacemaker and stabilizer,” added MAP.

Ramos was president from 1992 to 1998. Before that, he served as a defense secretary in Cory Aquino’s administration.

The country’s 12th president died at the age of 94 on Sunday.

His administration was marked by economic reforms including the passage of the Republic Act 8479 or the Oil Deregulation Act just before he ended his term and the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995.

Image credits: Caelestis Productions