18th Secretary of National Defense

January 22, 1988 to July 18, 1991

Fidel V. Ramos assumed his post as Defense Secretary with the reputation for professionalism and teamwork he had earned as a constitutional soldier.

As a soldier who preferred fatigues to dress uniform, Secretary Ramos helped the Aquino government restore democratic institutions, several times leading the Armed Force of the Philippines in protecting the country from extreme rightist groups. The centrist stance he set for the Armed Forces while he was Chief of Staff had been tested many times and its validity demonstrated when August 28, 1987 coup attempt was crushed under his personal direction.

His deep commitment to help deliver good government and stability to the Filipino people is backed by knowledge earned through three masteral degrees—a Masters in Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois (1951); a Masters in National Security Administration (MNSA) from the National Defense College of the Philippines (1969); and a Master in Business Administration from Ateneo De Manila University (1980) – and the experience gained for more than 41 years of military service. Such experience spanned a balanced pattern of both field command and staff assignments that followed his graduation from the US Military Academy in 1950. He is member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

The man, whose prominent role in the People Power Revolution of February 1986 influenced many to support it, is also actively committed to civic affairs. He is involved in several fraternal, sports, veterans, and humanitarian organizations, and is especially proud of being twice a gallonneer of the Red Cross Blood Program.

Ramos keeps himself physically fit for the severe demands of public service through a variety of sports activities. He is past Fist Vice President of the Philippines Olympic Committee, and past President of the Philippine Badminton Association.

His military record is a step-by-step rise through the command-and-staff ladder that began with early field assignments, fighting the Huks in Southern Luzon as a platoon leader of the 2nd Battalion Combat Team (BCT) in 1951 and as an infantry Company Commander of the 16th BCT. He also served as Reconnaissance Platoon Leader of the 20th BCT of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) in 1952. He commanded the Advance Party of the Philippines Civic Action Group to Vietnam (PHILCAG) in August 1966, later on becoming the unit’s Chief the Staff. Various staff officer positions followed before he was designated Presidential Assistant on Military Affairs in 1968, Chief of Staff in 1981. President Corazon Aquino named him AFP Chief of Staff in February 1988 upon her assumption of office.

His main concerns as Secretary of National Defense were: the upgrading of the Armed Forces of the Philippines through a more self-reliant defense posture and the development of the reserve Force; and the enhancement of civilian-military-police teamwork under the umbrella of the Peace and Order Council System. He strongly espoused the “total approach” strategy of counter insurgency and vigorously pursued legislative programs and budgetary support necessary to promote internal security and stability.

Aside from his security concerns, he continually promoted and supported countryside development, a balanced agro-industrial program and local government autonomy, all of which contributed substantially to better stability and economic growth.

He was awarded the Legion of Merit (Degree of Commander) by the US Government and the Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Commander).

Eddie, as friends call him, was born on March 18, 1982 in Lingayen, Pangasinan. He is married to Amelita Martinez, a consultant of the International School in Makati, Metro Manila. They have five daughters.

Ramos became President of the Philippines after the term of President Corazon C. Aquino.