Leticia Ramos-Shahani
Senator of the Philippines
In office
June 30, 1987 – June 30, 1998
16th Senate President pro tempore of the Philippines
In office
July 6, 1993 – October 10, 1996
PresidentFidel Ramos
Preceded byTeofisto Guingona, Jr.
Succeeded byBlas Ople
Undersecretary/Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
1986–1987
PresidentCorazon Aquino
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Social and Humanitarian Affairs
In office
1981–1986
Philippine Ambassador to Australia
In office
August 1978 – December 1980
PresidentFerdinand Marcos
Preceded byMonico Vicente
Succeeded byGregorio Abad
Personal details
Born
Leticia Valdez Ramos

(1929-09-30)September 30, 1929
Lingayen, Pangasinan, Philippine Islands
DiedMarch 20, 2017(2017-03-20) (aged 87)
Taguig, Philippines
Cause of deathPneumonia, cardiac arrest
Resting placeManila Memorial Park – Sucat
NationalityFilipino
Political partyLakas–CMD (2008–2017)
Other political
affiliations
Lakas (1991–2008)
LDP (1988–1991)
UNIDO (until 1988)
Spouse
Ranjee Shahani
(died 1970)
ChildrenLila
Ranjit
Chanda
RelativesFidel Ramos (brother)
ResidenceAsingan, Pangasinan
Alma materWellesley College (BA)
Columbia University (MA)
University of Paris (Ph.D)
OccupationPolitician
ProfessionProfessor

Leticia Valdez Ramos-Shahani (September 30, 1929 – March 20, 2017) was a Filipina senator,[1] diplomat, and writer.

She was the younger sister of Fidel V. Ramos, the 12th president of the Philippines.

Early life

The Ramos House along Primicias Street in Lingayen. This was the rented family house of Narciso and Ángela Ramos, where Fidel and Leticia were born.
The Ramos House along Primicias Street in Lingayen. This was the rented family house of Narciso and Ángela Ramos, where Fidel and Leticia were born.
Ramos House historical marker
Ramos House historical marker

She was born on September 30, 1929, in Lingayen, Pangasinan. Her father, Narciso Ramos (1900–1986), was a lawyer, crusading journalist and five-term legislator at the House of Representatives, who eventually became Secretary of Foreign Affairs.[2] As such, Narciso Ramos was the Philippine signatory to the ASEAN declaration forged in Bangkok in 1967 and was one of the founder of the Liberal Party. He was of the Ramos clan that has roots in Asingan, Pangasinan.

Her mother, Angela Valdez-Ramos (1905–1978), was an educator, suffragette and daughter of the prominent Valdez clan of Batac, Ilocos Norte, making her a second degree cousin of Ferdinand Marcos, the 10th President of the Philippines.[3]

Education

Ramos-Shahani finished her elementary and secondary level education at the University of the Philippines. She finished her Bachelor of Arts in English literature at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and her master's degree in comparative literature at Columbia University in New York.[4] She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in comparative literature at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) after defending her doctoral thesis with highest honors.

She was a former dean of the Graduate School of Lyceum of the Philippines. She taught English literature, French, Spanish, comparative literature, humanities, social psychology and others. She was former member of the faculty of the University of the Philippines from 1954 to 1957, Queens Borough Community College, New York in 1961, Brooklyn College, New York in 1962 and New School for Social Research, New York from 1962 to 1967.

She was also the former dean of the College of International, Humanitarian, and Development Studies of Miriam College.

Political career

After passing the Philippine Foreign Service Officer (FSO) Examination, Ramos-Shahani held various high positions such as Ambassador to Australia from August 1978 to December 1980; UN Assistant Secretary-General for Social and Humanitarian Affairs from 1981 to 1986; and Secretary-General of the World Conference on the UN Decade of Women in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985. As Ambassador, she travelled extensively around Australia and was the first Philippine envoy to Australia to visit the Northern Territory. Under her watch, the Australian-Philippines Friendship Society was formally organized in December 1980. She also saw the first formal consultations between Philippines and Australia in Canberra in 1979 and again in 1980. She advocated for the establishment of a chair in Philippine studies in a top university in Australia.[5]

Ramos-Shahani left her UN post and returned to the Philippines, where she became the Deputy Minister for Philippine Affairs after the 1986 EDSA Revolution, serving until 1987, and elected as Senator in 1987.[5] Reelected in 1992, she rose to the post of Senate President pro tempore in 1993, under the rule of her brother Fidel.[6]

During her term in Senate, Ramos-Shahani was the chair of various committees like the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Education, Culture and Arts, Committee on Agriculture and member of the Commission on Appointments.[7][8]

After her second Senate term ended in 1998, Ramos-Shahani would later hold several positions in government. Between 2001 and 2004, she served as Director of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), Presidential Adviser on Culture and head of the National Committee of Libraries and Information Services of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, and chairperson of the committee on culture of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines. From 2008 to 2011, she was the Dean of the College of International, Humanitarian and Development Studies of Miriam College.[5]

Family

Ramos-Shahani was married to the late Indian professor and writer Dr. Ranjee Gurdassing Shahani, PhD (1913-1970), whose father had roots in Sindh (currently in Pakistan) of undivided India, and was forced to migrate to India after the 1947 Partition of India.[9] Together they had three children, two sons and a daughter, eldest son Ranjit, another son Chanda and the youngest, a daughter, Lila. Ranjit Ramos Shahani is the former and youngest Pangasinan Vice Governor (1990–95), Pangasinan 6th District board member (2010-2016) and member of the Board of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (de facto Philippine embassy to Taiwan) from 2017 onwards.[10][11] Lila Ramos Shahani is the former Assistant Secretary at the National Anti-Poverty Commission (2010-2012), former Head of Communications of the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cabinet Cluster (2010-2016) and current Secretary General of the Philippine National Commission to UNESCO appointed in 2016.[12][13] Son Chanda Narciso Ramos Shahani is the real estate and organic food businessman.[10][11]

Death

Ramos-Shahani was rushed to the intensive care unit of St. Luke's Medical Center – Global City in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig for pneumonia after suffering from Stage 4 colorectal cancer. She died there on March 20, 2017, at 02:40 PHT (UTC+8), at the age of 87.[14] In 2018, the New York Times wrote a belated obituary for her.[15]

References

  1. ^ UNICEF. (1998). Megatrends: the future of Filipino children. Goodwill Trading Co., Inc. pp. 225–. ISBN 978-971-574-011-1. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  2. ^ Profile of Leticia Ramos Shahani in the New York Times, Steven Erlanger "Manila Journal; From a Life of Privilege, a Woman of Substance" November 9, 1989,
  3. ^ Luz Maria Martinez, "The life and times of Leticia Ramos Shahani," Isis International, June 11, 2015
  4. ^ Leticia Ramos Shahani's biography on Wellesley College's Alumni Achievement Award page
  5. ^ a b c "Ambassador Leticia Ramos Shahani". Philippine Embassy of Canberra Australia. Retrieved March 4, 2022.
  6. ^ Leticia Ramos Shahani's biography at the United Nations Intellectual History Project
  7. ^ Mario Casayuran, "Senate honors former Sen. Ramos-Shahani" Manilla Bulletin, June 12, 2015
  8. ^ Shahani political profile on the website of the Philippines Senate
  9. ^ "Ranjee G Shahani.", Open University, United Kingdom.
  10. ^ a b "Ex-Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani diagnosed with colon ******".
  11. ^ a b Salaverria, Leila B. (17 May 2017). "Ex-Senate president Edong Angara joins list of Duterte appointees".
  12. ^ Phil NatCom appointees, 2016
  13. ^ "The Door I Came In - Philstar.com". philstar.com.
  14. ^ "Former senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani passes away". INQUIRER.net. INQUIRER.net. 20 March 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Overlooked No More: Leticia Ramos Shahani, a Philippine Women's Rights Pioneer". The New York Times. 10 May 2018.