MANILA (AFP) – Former Philippine president Fidel Ramos, a soldier regarded as one of the country’s most effective leaders ever, was interred at the National Heroes Cemetery in a sombre state burial yesterday.
A low-flying military helicopter dropped flowers as a wagon bearing the flag-draped coffin containing an urn with his ashes rolled through the leafy cemetery grounds.
Incumbent President Ferdinand Marcos Jr joined the ex-leader’s widow and relatives as the silver urn with the cremated remains was lowered into the ground after a military parade and a 21-gun salute.
A career soldier who oversaw a rare period of steady growth and peace in the turbulent years that followed the dictatorship of Marcos Jr’s father and namesake, Ramos died late last month aged 94. The cause of death was not specified.
Known as “Steady Eddie” for his unflappable demeanour during the country’s regular moments of upheaval, he guided the Philippines with a sure hand from 1992-1998.
His widow Amelita Ramos thanked Filipinos in a brief address at the end of the state burial, saying soldiers like him lived a “hard life”.
“It entailed difficult adjustments. He would be at home for two years and in the province two years after that,” she said, apart from overseas deployments in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.