Retired, but not tired

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By Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye

Speaking Out

Sunday, March 23, 2014

AT 86, concerned senior citizen Fidel V. Ramos, describes himself as: “Retired, but not tired. Ex, but not excess.”

Indeed, the former President is very much around, taking advantage of every opportunity to exhort Filipinos to “Care, Dare and Share” and to be competitive as a nation through UST – “Unity, Solidarity and Team Work.”

He does this through his “Sermons,” a multi-volume compilation of his speeches and writings, and through his public speaking engagements, here and abroad.


FVR is now acknowledged as an Eminent Person of Asia, if not of the world.

But we, from Muntinlupa City, would like to remember FVR as Muntinlupa’s Favorite Son.

A long time resident of Muntinlupa, FVR loves to recount how early in his military career, he patrolled the Muntinlupa-Cavite boundary area to catch cattle rustlers.

When Ayala developed Ayala Alabang in the early 80s, FVR became one of its first residents.

Many remember FVR as the quiet next door neighbor. He moved around the village unobtrusively. If he had any close-in security at all, they were practically invisible.

When FVR decided to join JPE at Edsa, concerned neighbors organized their own People Power to form a protective ring around Mrs. Ming Ramos and FVR’s daughters. This event has come to be commemorated as “Edsa sa Alabang.”

A physical fitness buff, FVR frequented the Alabang Country Club gym and its swimming pool. A strong swimmer, FVR could swim backstroke the length of the pool, cigar in his mouth, without the cigar ever getting wet!

At the height of the nine coup attempts by Gringo Honasan against President Cory, Alabang resident Elo Javier could accurately predict whether we would have a quiet day or not just by observing FVR’s demeanor.

“There would be no coup attempt today,” Elo Javier would confidently say. “Look at FVR. He is so relaxed reading the newspapers by the pool side. Vintage Steady Eddie.”

(Elo and his elder brother Ted Javier served as my volunteer security advisers when I was Mayor of Muntinlupa.)

Wearing his famous verrry short shorts, FVR would be up early at the Alabang Country Club to play a round of golf with his foursome. But it was not all golf. FVR would jog from one hole to another (instead of walking or using the golf cart).

Recently, I asked FVR about his golf handicap. He shook his head: “Tumaas na, Toting.” Ask why, he replied: “When I was President, isang dipa pa ang bola sa butas, give na. Now, I always have to putt through.”

FVR is rightly given credit for many reforms which took place during his Presidency. Three of them impacted me directly.

His efforts to de-monopolize telecommunication are benefitting every Juan and Maria who now have easy access to telephone land lines and cell phones. Compare that to the time when one had to wait years to get a line.

For Muntinlupenos, FVR signed into law the Muntinlupa City Charter.

For BSPers, FVR signed into law the New Central Bank Act, which refocused the central monetary authority’s mandate to that of keeping inflation low and stable.

Once, FVR visited Muntinlupa City Hall to proclaim his official candidates for the 1995 local elections. Over coffee, and his trademark unlighted cigar, FVR gave his anointed candidates precious tips on how to campaign.

“I call this 4K,” FVR started.

“First K. Kawayan. Wave at the people. By waving you immediately establish contact with them even from afar.

“Second K. Kamayan. Up close, shake their hands. Your hand shake must be firm. While shaking hands, don’t forget the eye contact.

“Third K. Kumustahan. While shaking hands, ask a general question about the family. Everybody appreciates being asked about his/her loved ones.

“And don’t forget the last K. Kodakan. Filipinos are very fond of picture-taking.”

“4K is a sure-fire formula,” FVR said with a wink and a “thumbs up.”

One does not need to be a politician to profit from FVR’s advice.

Belated Happy Birthday, Mr. President!


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