FVR in NYC – A former president’s journey to promote patriotism

FVR in NYC – A former president’s journey to promote patriotism

It could very well have been FVR day at the Philippine Center last June 14, Friday,  as former President Fidel Valdez Ramos appeared in multiple events to talk about anything under the sun, bust mostly focusing on the promotion of patriotism and the Filipino spirit.

In the morning, FVR met with the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce and some members of the business community. The chamber, founded in 1920 is one of the oldest bilateral business organizations in the United States.

“Instead of slowing down, former President Ramos has travelled around the world to share the good news about the Philippines and to encourage foreign nationals and Filipinos alike to take part in the continued transformation of the Philippines into a progressive and developed country,” remarked Consul General Mario de Leon as he welcomed the audience to the forum.

“Democracy was restored and continues to be vibrant in the Philippines in large part because of his leadership. His economic policies underline the great success of the Philippines today. The BPO industry in the country would not exist if our speaker did not push through deregulation and competition in the telecommunication sector,” added Mr. John Howley, PACC chairman.

Ramos is in New York for the tail end of his 11-day trip to the United States for a joint roadshow of the Ramos Peace and Development Foundations (RPDEV), former DILG Secretary Rafael Alunan III and Media Touchstone Ventures. Labelled “Pilipinas: The Story Behind the Glory,” the roadshow features a video documentary and a companion historical book, and traveled to Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington, DC, Atlanta and New York.

After the luncheon forum, FVR had a two-hour break.

At 3:30 pm, he joined members of the local media to talk about politics and current developments in the Philippines.

“We have entered a new boom cycle and with your help here in the U.S. as well as from elsewhere, we hope that from hereon, we won’t suffer anymore the boom and then the bust cycle that has characterized not just the economy but Philippine history itself,” Ramos said.

Achieving 7.8% growth in the first quarter is a great sign of things to come, according to the former President. However,  he suggested that to sustain this growth, focus must be given on other sectors.

“The growth spurt that we see is heavy on construction and property development, and that is a good sign because we can see now the sudden willingness to start doing infrastructure projects,” he added. “We must define the quality of this growth and make sure that it is truly inclusive.”

He also discussed further the video documentary “Tagaligtas”, a one-hour video on the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), produced by Mr. Alunan. The video documents the crucial roles that SAF, a special elite unit founded by then PC-INP Chief Maj. Gen. Ramos, played in the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution and in securing the Filipino people from coups, insurgency, terrorism and organized crime.

Ramos and Alunan were joined by retired PNP Deputy Director General Reynaldo Velasco and author Melandrew Velasco, who wrote the book “Silver Linings,” which portrays the untold heroic stories of the 1986 people power revolution from the unique perspective of the military and police personnel who played key roles during those historic moments.

“Our roadshow is here to market Filipino values, most especially the virtues of patriotism, determination, audacity and sacrifice exemplified in three momentous periods in our struggle for nationhood,” Ramos said. The period he mentioned are the Revolutionary Movement of 1896-1898, the nationwide guerrilla resistance from 1942-1945 and the EDSA people power in 1986.

In the evening, Ramos and his team met with the community.  A lively and interactive discussion followed after the screening of the hour-long documentary “Tagaligtas,” which was premiered last year at the AFP Theater in Camp Aguinaldo with President Benigno Aquino as guest of honor.

(NYNJ June 28, 2013 LifeEASTyle Magazine pg.2)

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