Former President Fidel V. Ramos helped improve the ties between the Philippines and China amid maritime disputes.
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said in his text message yesterday to Palace reporters that Ramos was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as special envoy to China because of his “stature, credibility as an elderly statesman, and his ability to break the ice with the Chinese government,” stressing the former president’s “invaluable presence.”
“PFVR was instrumental in the softening of ties between our government and the PROC (People’s Republic of China), which led to the very successful recent state visit of PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) in Beijing,” Andanar said.
Andanar reacted to Ramos’ announcement that he had resigned as the country’s special envoy to China.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters in a text message that the resignation letter was already submitted to the Office of the Executive Secretary, adding Duterte would have the final word whether to accept it or not.
It will be recalled that Ramos went to Hong Kong last Aug. 12 to meet with Madam Fu Ying, chair of the foreign affairs committee of the National People’s Congress and a former ambassador to Manila, and Wu Shichun, president of China’s National Institute of South China Seas Studies.
In a statement signed by the three, it said that they were able to discuss “in a friendly atmosphere” cooperation on fishing as well as fighting drugs, crime and smuggling.
Ramos said he resigned from his post as special envoy at the moment Duterte returned home after his four-day state visit to China.
Ramos was then not part of Duterte’s delegation to China.
Secretary Andanar earlier said Ramos’ decision was a courteous gesture for Duterte, who visited Beijing for the first time as the head of state.
While Duterte repeatedly stressed in his speeches that Ramos was the one who urged him to run for president in the May 2016 elections, the former president, in his opinion column, suggested that Duterte should pursue an interdependent foreign policy instead of an independent foreign policy.
His latest piece was a warning to Duterte that if he continued to reject the Climate Change Agreement, it would be like “shooting himself in the mouth.”
Despite his criticisms, Ramos said that he should still be seen as an “older brother” in the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, there is no holiday break for President Rody on Halloween.
In fact, President Duterte surprised wounded soldiers at a military hospital in Jolo, Sulu, for the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day holidays.
Duterte, accompanied by Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Ricardo Visaya, paid a visit to eight soldiers at the hospital in Camp Teodulfo Bautista Monday.
The soldiers were wounded during a recent clash with the bandit group Abu Sayyaf, it was learned.
The President gave each soldier P100,000 in cash and a Glock pistol and also awarded them with a Wounded Personnel Medal.
Since he assumed office on June 30, Duterte has visited several military camps, pledging to double the salaries of state forces.