In a country where people are passionate about their chosen leaders, the debate on who is the best president rages on. From Marcos to Cory to FVR to GMA to PNoy, supporters of these past presidents are always up in arms to defend their legacies. But among the past presidents who led the Philippines, Ramos Magsaysay always emerges as one of the most loved presidents.
In the words of author Jose Abueva, Magsaysay’s leadership remains to be “the yardstick by which Filipino presidents should be judged.”
Here are some of the reasons why President Ramon Magsaysay could be best ever Philippine president.
1. Magsaysay had brilliant efforts in counter-insurgency.
As a former guerilla leader, Magsaysay used unorthodox ways to combat insurgency. He used a tactic known as “Find Em, Fight Em, Fool Em,” which was a combination of intelligence, combat operations, and psychological warfare. The tactic was successful and led to the surrender of Huks including its leader Luis Taruc.
2. Magsaysay facilitated land reform.
Knowing the problems of the rural folk, Magsaysay facilitated giving land to the landless citizens. Public land was distributed to qualified settlers. A total of 28,000 land patents, covering 241,000 hectares, were issued during his first year in office and by the year 1955, a total of 23,578 agricultural lots were distributed to landless applicants. In the same year, 8,800 families were also given resettlement by the National Resettlement and Rehabilitation Administration (NARRA) in 22 settlement projects.