FVR Knows That Sometimes, All We Really Need Is A Hug

“Con todo amor!”

Violent times don’t have to call for violent measures. Count on former president Fidel V. Ramos to dole out this bit of advice.

Speaking at the ASEAN Conference on Peace and the Prevention of Violent Extremism in Southeast Asia, former president Ramos approached the podium and began by asking the audience of delegates from all over the world to stand up, shake hands, and then “embrace and kiss each other.” The audience, of course, obliges, and then FVR explains, saying, “This is the way to prevent violent extremism.” Check out the bizarre yet undeniably touching moment at about 38:45:

After he had gotten everyone to extend friendly gestures to each other, FVR then proceeds to go off-script, ditching the long speech that was printed on what he called a “poop sheet.” Later, he would even suggest that the speech belongs on the internet, where you can read it on your own. How millennial of him.

“This is going back to basics,” he says. “This is how you prevent extreme violence at home, with your spouse, with your sons and daughters, with your grandchildren, with your employers, with your employees.” Then he goes on to talk about a book produced by the Ramos Peace And Development Foundation entitled 2030: One World, One Community, One Family, and the 17 goals for sustainable peace listed in it. Then towards the end, he asked everyone to hug again.

Ramos is undoubtedly sharp for 89, as he managed to deliver a meaningful speech spontaneously without ostensible lapses in coherence. Plus, he got to get a good message across: a much-needed dose of positivity and an endorsement of peace that comes so rarely from our politicians these days.

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Miguel Escobar
Assistant Features Editor for Esquire Philippines
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