Ramon Magsaysay awardees arrive for rites
Five distinguished Asians who won this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awards arrived in Manila on Sunday ahead of the awarding ceremonies on Friday at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Kulandei Francis of India and Syeda Rizwana Hasan of Bangladesh, together with their spouses, arrived on board Singapore Airlines flight SQ-910 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 at around 1:30 p.m.
Francis is being recognized for “his visionary zeal, his profound faith in community energies, and his sustained programs in pursuing the holistic economic empowerment of thousands of women and their families in rural India.”
“People are powerful and they can be important resources to exacting change,” Francis told Ramon Magsaysay Foundation officials and reporters who welcomed him.
For her part, Hasan seemed to be still grappling with the surprise of getting the award. “I knew about the award but I didn’t expect to receive it,” she said.
She is being cited for “her uncompromising courage and impassioned leadership in a campaign of judicial activism in Bangladesh that affirms the people’s right to a good environment as nothing less than their right to dignity and life.”
The Taiwanese awardee, Chen Shu-jiu, arrived on board China Airlines flight CI-703 from Taipei at around 3:30 p.m. She was accompanied by three officials from the Taiwan foreign ministry and the Taitung County government.
Chen is being recognized for “the pure altruism of her personal giving, which reflects a deep, consistent, quiet compassion, and has transformed the lives of the numerous Taiwanese she has helped.”
Dr. Yang Saing Koma from Cambodia and Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto from Indonesia arrived on board flight SQ-916 at around 6 p.m. Koma was accompanied by That Sok, program coordinator of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture. Ruwindrijarto’s wife and 5-year-old daughter were with him.
Koma is being recognized for “his creative fusion of practical science and collective will that has inspired and enabled vast numbers of farmers in Cambodia to become more empowered and productive contributors to their country’s economic growth.”
Ruwindrijarto will be cited for “his sustained advocacy for community-based natural resource management in Indonesia, leading bold campaigns to stop illegal forest exploitation, as well as fresh social enterprise initiatives that engage the forest communities as their full partners.”
The sixth awardee is a Filipino, Romulo Davide, plant pathologist, nematologist and retired professor of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños College of Agriculture.
Davide is being honored for “his steadfast passion in placing the power and discipline of science in the hands of farmers in the Philippines, who have consequently multiplied their yields, created productive farming communities, and rediscovered the dignity of their labor.”
The awardees are scheduled to speak in several lectures and be guests at various events in days before and after the awarding ceremonies.
The winners will receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of President Ramon Magsaysay, who died in a plane crash, and a cash prize.
Since 1954, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation has been giving recognition to outstanding individuals for their selfless service in uplifting the lives of millions in Asia.