The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) recently recognized six individuals for their significant contribution in the field of public service in Asian countries.
"Working selflessly in unpretentious yet powerful ways, they (awardees) are showing how commitment, competence, and collaborative leadership can truly transform millions of individual lives and galvanize progressive community action," RMAF President Carmencita Abella said.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award, considered the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, was given to Syeda Rizwana Hasan of Bangladesh; Yang Saing Koma, Cambodia; Kulandei Francis, India; Ambrosius Ruwindrijato, Indonesia; Romulo Davide, Philippines; and Chen Shi-Jiu, Taiwan.
"Their concerns are clearly quite diverse--agricultural productivity, environmental justice, farmer education, women economic empowerment, good education for the young," Abella said.
"But there is one thing these Magsaysay laureates share: a greatness of spirit which infuses their distinct leadership for change," she added.
Addressing the awardees, President Benigno Aquino III, said: "I believe that each and every person who hears your stories will find reason to be more hopeful about the prospects of all humankind."
He added that Filipino admire the work of Asian public servants and urged the awardees to "continue helping improve the world..."
"As my people have assured me, so do I assure you: You are not alone," Aquino said.
The awarding ceremony also honored the memory of Philippine Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash off the island of Masbate Aug. 18.
Robredo won the Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000, and was the first Filipino mayor to in the roster of Magsaysay laureates.
A total of 290 individual have been given the Magsaysay award since 1957. This year's winners will received a certificate, a medallion with the profile of the late President Ramon Magsaysay, and a cash prize.
(Text by Kim Arveen Patria; photos by NPPA)