MANILA—Amid the word war between presidential candidates Rodrigo Duterte and Mar Roxas, Former President Fidel V. Ramos said yesterday at a forum in Quezon City that the two should “act like a Philippine President” instead of insinuating physical violence against each other.
“My advice, simple: Act like a Philippine President who must be competitive nationally because you will be compared with other Philippine Presidents. But this is now the 21st century, and the Philippine President must be world-class. We are not anymore in the period of Antonio Luna, Emilio Aguinaldo and Andres Bonifacio. Our countrymen should not kill each other, they should unite to develop our nation,” Ramos was quoted as saying in an Inquirer.net report.
Ramos stressed that violence will not resolve the problems faced by the country. He advised the presidentiables to focus on resolving these issues instead.
“The problems of the world today, especially the Philippines, have to do with fighting poverty, natural calamities – or preparing for them, if not fight them – and mitigate climate change that will kill all agriculture activities,” Ramos was quoted as saying in a Manila Bulletin report.
“So slapping each other, fighting each other, and killing each other will not solve the problems,” he added.
Ramos added that the educational background of a presidential candidate only comes second to the character of the individual seeking the presidential post.
“In the Philippine context, the most important component of leadership is ‘pakikisama sa mamamayan’ (camaraderie with the citizens) so you could energize and mobilize them to move as one team,” Ramos said in a Manila Bulletin report.
“Academic degree really should not count because the conventional wisdom is this: You should make sure that your education goes to your mind and not to your head,” he added.
Duterte and Roxas’ spat started when the Davao mayor told the press that Roxas did not graduate from Wharton, the business school of the University of Pennsylvania.
“Mar graduated at the University of Pennsylvania—that’s correct—but he is never a graduate of Wharton as what he claims to be,” Duterte was quoted as saying in a Rappler report.
“A Wharton graduate is a person who finishes his masters degree at Wharton, meaning you are a graduate of MBA at Wharton. In your case, Mar, you are not, so don’t claim to be a man you cannot be…because you are not. UPenn graduate ka (You are a UPenn graduate), and not Wharton!” he added in the same report.
Duterte’s claims on Mar’s educational background have been disproven. A background check done by Rappler proved that Roxas graduated with a “degree of Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, under the “Wharton Undergraduate” division.”