Six winners of 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Awards honored
The six winners of the 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Awards were honored on Thursday at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Lilia De Lima, the former head of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) which generated 6.3 million jobs for Filipinos during her 21-year term and the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) which continue to shape the "theater arts for social change" for 50 years are the two Philippine entries which won awards.
Yoshiaki Ishizawa of Japan helped in the preservation of Angkor Wat in Cambodia for 50 years and Sri Lankan Gethsie Shanmugan, who gave psycho social support to victims of a three-decade war in their country were among the awardees.
Abdon Nababan of Indonesia, one of the organizers of the Indigenous People Alliance of the Archipelago which protects the rights of the people and Tony Tay of Singapore who collected unsold food daily then cooked it to give to the poor, completed the list of the winners.
The winners expressed their gratitude after receiving the award.
De Lima said, "I thank you most sincerely, Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, for recognizing my work at the Philippine Economic Zone Authority. Truly it is a blessing to be awarded for work I enjoyed doing".
She said their "mantra" in PEZA is "absolute honesty" and "utmost service" in all dealings with the stakeholders.
Cecilia Garrucho , president of PETA, said the award encourages them to create more stories for the people to have a "just , peaceful and inclusive society" through the power of theater and arts.
Ishizawa shared his "deep feelings of joy for receiving the award.
"I feel elated, humbled and deeply moved by your kind decision to coner upon me such a magnificient honor", he said.
Shanmugan said: "the Ramon Magsaysay award affirms the spirit of humanity that endures underthe most difficult circumstances".
"My work with children and adults living with war, disaster and other hardships has shown me that even in the context of terrible violence , loss and suffering, there is always the possibility of growth, caring and hope", she added.
Nababan expressed his "infinite gratitude" to his God for receiving the award.He dedicated the award to his family who remains by his side throughout his journey.
He announced in his speech that he will be running for governor in North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Tay thanked and offer his award to God, his family and the donors, supporters and volunteers of his foundation the Willing Hearts.
Vice President Leni Robredo and former President Fidel Ramos attended the awarding ceremony. Alanna Ambi/DMS