The United States is the Philippines’ “most sincere, devoted, patriotic, and fearless” ally, former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos said on Tuesday, April 11.
In his speech during the third day of commemorating the Bataan Death March of 1942, Ramos expressed his hope that President Rodrigo Duterte would realize in time the great importance of the decades-long relationship between the Philippines and U.S.
Duterte, who assumed the presidency in July last year, reportedly had a strained relationship with the U.S. under former President Barack Obama. Duterte constantly attacked Washington with profane-laced speeches, and even threatened to end joint military drills and chase U.S. troops out of Mindanao.
Lately, however, Duterte seems to have warmed up to the U.S. after President Donald Trump took office earlier in January.
“He (Duterte) may not know it, but I’m sure he will know it very quickly that the Americans have always been our most sincere, devoted, patriotic, and fearless allies in war and peace,” said Ramos.
On that day, Ramos lead the 10-kilometer “Freedom March” as part of the commemorating the bravery and heroism of Filipino and American soldiers who were subjected to a death march by Japanese invaders in 1942.
The former president highlighted in his speech that the surrendering of 80,000 death march victims in Bataan does not mark the end of the country’s war against Japan.
According to Ramos, Filipino and American soldiers continued its resistance against invaders through guerilla warfare.
“It was their bravery, their determination to fight the enemy, their desire to see the Philippines liberated once more that made them so successful,” he said.
Ramos also made note that it was Colonel Wendell Fertig of the United States Armed Forces, an American mining engineer, who led the most successful guerilla unit in the Philippines.
Stressing the need of a nation to maintain its diplomatic and socio-economic relations with other countries, Ramos said there are threats, citing, in particular, environmental and health issues, that could only be solved through international cooperation.
“We must work towards closer cooperation among nations,” he said. “The world is too dangerous if left to itself.”
Ramos also urged the public to not believe any reports suggesting the end of Philippine-U.S. ties under the present administration.