Filipino centre-right politician, president 1992–98. He launched a commission to consult with Muslim secessionist rebel groups on Mindanao, which produced a peace deal with one of the rebel groups in September 1996. In addition, as part of a government move to end corruption and human-rights abuses, he purged the police force. These and other initiatives won him popular support, and in the May 1995 congressional elections, with the economy booming, his supporters won a sweeping victory. However, from 1997 the economic situation deteriorated, with the peso being devalued in July 1997. Ramos was prevented, by the constitution, from seeking a second term in 1998 and he was succeeded by the former vice president Joseph Estrada.
Drawn from the Philippines' Protestant minority community, Ramos was a graduate of the prestigious West Point US military academy and saw active military service in Korea and Vietnam. In 1981, under President Ferdinand Marcos, who was his second cousin, Ramos was appointed deputy chief of staff of the armed forces. However, in February 1996, along with defence secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, he sided with opposition leader Corazon Aquino in her ‘people power’ struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. Aquino made Ramos army chief of staff in 1986 and defence secretary in 1988. He remained her staunchest ally, standing by her during a succession of attempted coups, and was rewarded by securing nomination as her successor. Enjoying the backing of the centrist Lakas – National Union of Christian Democrats – Ramos won the May 1992 presidential election, but his share of the national vote was only 24%.
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