Former President Fidel V. Ramos (seated, 5th from left) with the Filipino-American community during a photo opportunity at the New York Philippine Center on May 21. Also in photo is Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. (seated, 4th from left).

The Philippine Consulate General New York (PCGNY) and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce New York (PACC) jointly hosted a Breakfast Forum with former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) at the Kalayaan Hall Annex of the New York Philippine Center on May 21.

After attending the reunion celebrations of his graduating class from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, Ramos took the time to update the Filipino-American community on recent political, economic and social developments in the Philippines.  

In his opening remarks, PACC President Michael Nierva recalled that it was the economic initiatives of Ramos that inspired the Chamber to assert itself as an organization to help enhance and expand RP-US business ties in the tri-state region.

In his introduction of Ramos, Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. expressed gratitude to him for his frequent post-presidency activities of educating the Filipino public on current issues which are of pertinence to the Philippines and the Filipino community in the Northeast U.S. region.

The consul general also congratulated Ramos on a recognition he received from his alma mater, the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.

The Thayer Hotel in West Point, N.Y. recently inducted the new Fidel V Ramos Room named in his honor, the first recognition the institution dedicated to a foreigner.

De Leon further expressed his confidence in FVR’s wisdom and experience for insights to solutions and answers to the issues being faced by the Philippines.

He mentioned the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) with China, and cited the incident on Mischief Reef reclamation by the Chinese during Ramos’ term in 1995.

He as well raised the subject of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and brought up the previous visit of FVR in New York where he presented a video documentary on the Special Action Force, the same group that handled the Mamasapano operation in January.

In his usual charismatic demeanor, Ramos greeted the community and presented to the audience the accomplishments and legacies of his stewardship of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998.

He noted such measures undertaken during his presidential administration, such as the Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front, the economic liberalization and globalization efforts, and the growing foreign investment opportunities in the country.

He further explained to the audience on what he felt were examples of his administration’s policies which can find relevance to the nation today.

During the question-and-answer portion moderated by Consul Felipe Cariño, Director of the Political/Economic Section, Ramos candidly addressed queries from the attendees concerning the ongoing Peace Process in Mindanao, the West Philippine Sea Arbitration case between the Philippines and China, the upcoming 2016 presidential elections, and the programs of the government for historical preservation matters such as the Battle of Sibuyan Sea during World War II.

Over 60 community members were present at the Forum, representing such diverse organizations as the National Federation of Filipino American Associations Region I (NaFFAA), the Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund (FALDEF), the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce in Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (PACC-PSNJ), Metrobank New York, the Philippine Nurses Association in New York, and the Fil-Am Press Club of New York (FAPCNY).

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