Wise Words On Leadership, Success, And The Edsa Revolution From A Former President

Ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Edsa Revolution, the Ramos Peace and Development (RPDEV) Foundation launched a new compilation of speeches, essays, and anecdotes of former President Fidel V. Ramos. Here are some takeaways.

At the launch of 2030: One World, One Community, One Family, volume 19 of the collection of essays, speeches, and anecdotes of Fidel V. Ramos, at Kamuning Bakery Café in Quezon City, the former President gave insights on the Philippine economy, the Edsa People Power Revolution of 1986, success, leadership, and the upcoming elections. He said that the youth are not to blame for being misled on the real effects of the Martial Law era, but rather, today’s elders and leaders should reach out to the younger generations and show them the values of Edsa.

In an interview with eCompareMo.com, he cited the following foundations of macroeconomic growth that started under his regime in 1992 to 1998. First was the reform/transformation of the old Central Bank of the Philippines—now called Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)—under a new structural arrangement.

“I consider this fundamental,” he said. “Since 1993, when we passed the law with the cooperation of both houses of congress but under my direction, we’ve gotten rid of huge debt, at the same time we stabilized the value of the peso by setting it free to compete with the world market with other currencies. The Central Bank became more democratic in the sense that it was no longer limited to family dynasties that used to control the Philippine economy.”

The former President also emphasized the importance of the Anti-Poverty and Social Reform Law, or the Republic Act 8425 of 1997, which, according to him, made borrowing money easier for the less fortunate. “In some cases, there has been no need for collateral for loans, where the people guarantee on their honor to repay their debts,” he explained. “This was an improvement over the well-known Grameen System of Bangladesh, which won the Nobel Prize afterward.”

And then there are The Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA), which gave autonomy to our native Filipinos; the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the organization of the Islamic Conference; and the Magna Carta for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), which were all took effect during his regime.

“All these are still in the law, and these have never been duplicated in terms of importance, urgency, and facility in enactment and implementation. It is the mistake of certain bureaucrats, politicians, and functionaries that are causing the failure of some aspects of these laws. But that is the responsibility and accountability of the president of the Philippines, who is also commander-in-chief—not me anymore.”

His 298-page book is full of life lessons and wisdom that everyone model their lives after. Below are some excerpts.

On the spirit of Edsa

“Whoever today treasures the spirit of Edsa must first internalize it by doing some positive acts to care, share, and dare for others. Those in authority now—wherever they were in February 1986—should now champion the spirit of Edsa, and spread it by word and deed, especially to younger Filipinos. This means taking actions that enhance, not diminish, our democracy; curb corruption and cronyism; undertake poverty alleviation and social reform; and ensure justice is delivered without delay to the long-suffering and powerless.

“The spirit of Edsa does not belong only to the past. It belongs to the present and to the future. The spirit of Edsa, indeed, belongs to all time. Like it or not, our People Power Revolution at Edsa is a continuing revolution—an unfulfilled vision we must win without further loss of time and goodwill.

“On the other hand, the greatest loss to our posterity would be our failure to impart the values of that transcendent event to younger Filipinos and those who now bear the torch of national leadership.”

Edsa People Power Revolution Anniversary, Libingan ng mga Bayani, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City; February 24, 2015

On the culture of excellence: ‘Only the best is good enough’

“During my presidency and up to now as a private citizen, among the recurring themes in my speeches, writings, and interactions with other stakeholders is the virtue of striving for excellence in everything we do. This should become the cornerstone of our efforts to become globally competitive as a nation.

“I have witnessed the mighty efforts of many kababayans to raise the bar of achievement in their respective fields of endeavor. I have seen many of our micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) adopt standards of excellence at their very inception—thereby ensuring that a ‘culture of excellence’ found its way into every aspect of their business operations, particularly in their work ethic and personal relations.

“Remember the FVR mantra: People empowerment leads to a ‘culture of excellence,’ and results in global competitiveness.”

2015 Global Youth Forum, Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC), Olongapo City; October 1, 2015

On leadership

“An important difference exists between leading and managing. A corporation—or a country—can be well managed and yet poorly led. A corporation or a country may be doing the routine things right—without ever stopping to ask whether these routine things are worth doing at all.

“There are three things that distinguish leaders from mere technical experts.

“First, leaders do not allow themselves to be bound by traditional constraints. Second, leaders see what followers cannot. And third, leaders know that human will—human energy, human intelligence, and human resolve—can change the way things are. In short, true leaders must be more caring, sharing, and daring for others, and for Mother Philippines.”

Civil Engineering Summit 2015 and 12th NCR Technical Conference, Marikina City; October 8, 2015

On work and success

“We know that in the real world, ‘work’ must come before ‘success’—unlike in the dictionary. And we know things would change only if we dare to do the things that need to be done—against the greed of those who profit from ingrained ways of mendicancy.”

FVR Sermons, The Sunday Bulletin; June 7, 2015

Fidel V. Ramos’ 2030: One World, One Community, One Family, Volume 19 of the collection of essays, speeches, and anecdotes of the former President of the Philippines, is now available at major bookstores nationwide