Former President Fidel V. Ramos returned to Silliman University (SU) last Aug. 25 to serve as guest speaker for the Eminent Persons Lecture at the Luce Auditorium and to inaugurate the Fidel V. Ramos Reading Center at the SU Main Library.
Ramos is an alumnus of SU by virtue of the honorary degree granted to him by the university. He is the first Philippine president and the youngest among all recipients to be given the said degree.
Dr. Ben Malayang III, SU president, said that it is because of Ramos’ legacy during his administration that he and National Scientist Dr. Angel Alcala wanted that “Silliman University will possess some of the documents of the Ramos presidency, so that the future generations and scholars will be able to have access for these papers.”
The plan to have the FVR Reading Center at the first floor of the SU Main Library was mapped out in January 2013.
Malayang said that another reason why the FVR Reading Center was materialized was because of the vision of creating a functioning library where people can talk together about issues of the country.
Ramos said that the Fidel V. Ramos Reading Center, containing some of the documents and presidential papers during his presidency, is an “ideal place for students and scholars to learn and be informed.”
Malayang expressed that he is hoping that the reading center will eventually become a “research library where students and scholars can research about domestic policy, foreign policy and innovative programs of governance.”
Meanwhile, as guest speaker of the Eminent Persons Lecture, Ramos spoke on the current territorial disputes between China and the Philippines over the West- Philippine Sea.
Ramos, the inaugural speaker of the lecture series in 2008, said that “the only thing we can do[about the West- Philippine Sea dispute] is not to increase our weapons of mass destruction, but to improve our mass upliftment through education.”
“Education as the effective counter to terrorism, to violence and thermonuclear war, and other weapons of mass destruction,” Ramos said.
Ramos also added that nations in all parts of the world must not just think of protecting territories, but must also think of solving the other problems such as the underlying problems of our environment that would affect the future of the people.
“We spend too much money in protecting our territories, yet we forget to do something for the environment. We also forget to create programs that would uplift the youth–the future leaders of our country,” Ramos said.
Ramos added that the Filipinos should be “more sharing, caring, and daring, to give more than to take, and build a better future for the younger ones to enjoy.”
Ramos envisions the Philippines as a nation full of solidarity and values and a country of respect and admiration.
“I hope that the Philippines will go back to its rank of being a place worthy of respect and admiration,” Ramos said.
By Nova Veraley Grafe and DM Lorena Narciso