Manila, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed late Tuesday, November 1, that he received and accepted the resignation of former President Fidel Ramos as the government’s special envoy to China.
“I’d like to thank him for helping me and for being of the service of the nation even at his age,” Duterte said during his visit at his parents’ tomb at the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Davao City.
Earlier on Tuesday, Malacañan said that Ramos had “broken the ice” in restoring goodwill between the Philippines and China.
“President Fidel V. Ramos’ presence is invaluable. PFVR was appointed by PRRD as Special Envoy precisely because of his stature, credibility as our elderly statesman and his ability to break the ice with the Chinese Government,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.
“Ramos was instrumental in the softening of ties between our government and the PROC, which led to the very successful recent State Visit of PRRD in Beijing,” Andanar added.
The president said that he received the resignation letter Monday night. He said that he will still listen to Ramos’ advice, but added that he has his ways of assessing issues.
It can be recalled that Ramos resigned as special envoy to China shortly after criticizing Duterte, saying he was “losing badly” by giving priority to the war on drugs at the expense of other problems such as poverty, the lack of jobs and the high cost of living.
Ramos also said he didn’t like the way Duterte treated US President Barack Obama and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
Duterte however said he understood where the former President is coming from.
“He’s a product of western education, he’s graduate of West Point. Me? I am just a local boy,” he said in a televised interview.
The President then explained that he didn’t like how the United States treated his campaign against illegal drugs. He also said that the Philippines has long ceased to be a colony of the US.