Six awardees, including the Philippines’ Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, officially received their Ramon Magsaysay awards on Wednesday at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The other awardees were Bezwada Wilson (India) and Thodur Madabusi Krishna (for Emergent Leadership, India) as well as organizations Dompet Dhuafa (Indonesia), the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers or JOCV (Japan), and Vientiane Rescue (Laos).
Morales, in her response to the award, read a letter to her grandchildren who often asked why she continues to work.
“I continue working because I want to secure a just and honest society for you and for every Filipino child,” Morales said.
She said Magsaysay “steered the Philippines to its golden years, his tenure being one of the cleanest and most corrupt free in the history of our country. We must look back to his glorious past as guiding light in our thirst for leaders of the same persuasion.”
The award, regarded as Asia’s Nobel Prize, celebrates the memory and leadership example of former President Ramon Magsaysay.
According to the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, it is given annually to individuals or organizations in Asia “who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late and beloved Filipino leader.”
Vice President Leni Robredo, whose husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2000, said everybody can render service and influence other people for the better.
“It is not just Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Bezwada Wilson, Thodur Krishna nor the organizations Dompet Dhuafa JOCV or the Vientiane Rescue who are players in the games of humanity and inspiration. We all are too. Find the giant and the hero in you and their sacrifices and hard work will finally find root in the societies of the world,” she said.
“You are the final leg of their work. Without you, without your daily acts of kindness and inspiration and goodness, their works will not be fully successful. It is you who will give the final free throw,” Robredo said.
“Remember that your ideas are more powerful than anything in this world. When used to cultivate humanity, remember that your ideas are more forceful than guns, more persuasive than money, more commanding even than dictators. So let us act on those ideas now. Let us act on the ideas that come to you in the darkest hours of the morning. When you do, I promise you, your influence will spread beyond this lifetime. Jessie’s influence did, in ways even I did not imagine. Our footprints will live on,” she added. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO