Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales leads the six awardees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award this year.
The other awardees are Dompet Dhuafa from Indonesia, the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, Vientiane Rescue from Laos, Bezwada Wilson from India, and Thobur Madabusi Krishna from India.
Carmencita Abella, president of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, bared the list of awardees on Wednesday at Luna Gardens Residence in Rockwell, Makati City.
The announcement was witnessed by members of the Magsaysay family led by former senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Mila Magsaysay Valenzuela, and Francisco Magsaysay.
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
It celebrates the leadership of Ramon Magsaysay, the country’s third president. It is given yearly to individuals or groups whose act of service transformed their communities.
The former senator said this year’s awardees have shown bold solutions to deeply-rooted social problems thus helping the poor, the ignorant, and victims of injustice.
Carpio was chosen for her moral courage and commitment to fight injustice and for promoting, by example, values of incorruptibility, diligence, vision and leadership.
Dompet, a philanthropist, unleashed the potential of the Islamic faith to uplift, irrespective of creed, the lives of millions. He built a hospital for the poor.
Japan’s JOCV, according to organizers, advanced idealism and spirit of service in communities, having demonstrated for more than five decades that it is when people live, work, and think together that they lay the true foundation for peace and international solidarity. JOCV brings Japanese youth to work in other countries and foster mutual understanding.
The Laos Vientiane Rescue was cited for its heroic work in saving Laotian lives under the most deprived of circumstances, inspiring through passionate humanitarianism a similar generosity of spirit in many others. The rescue team is composed of volunteers who provide 24/7 service.
Wilson, whose parents were scavengers, displayed his moral energy and prodigious skill in leading a grassroots movement to eradicate the degrading servitude of manual scavenging in India, reclaiming for the dalits the human dignity that is their natural birthright.
Thobur, a musician, this year’s Emergent Leadership recipient, used his artistic talent to advocate art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions, breaking barriers of caste and class to unleash what music has to offer not just for some but for all.
The six awardees join the community of 312 other laureates.
Each awardee will receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President Magsaysay and a cash prize.
So far, India has the most number of awardees with 55 recipients, followed by the Philippines, 47, and Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand with 24, 23, and 22, respectively.
One of the most influential awardees is Mother Teresa of Calcutta who soon will be declared a saint by Pope Francis.
“She comforted the sick, including the lame, blind, and those suffering from tuberculosis. Her acts of mercy is unmatched,” former senator Magsaysay said.
Last year’s awardees were Laotian Kommaly Chanthayong, Indian Anshu Gupta, Burmese Kyaw Thu, and Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa.
The awards will be given on August 31 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City (Metro Manila).
Morales said she was “deeply honored” by the recognition.
“In choosing me as an awardee, the Foundation is also honoring the men and women of the Office of the Ombudsman who have faithfully toiled and persevered with me in our shared commitment to excise the cancer of corruption that has afflicted our country for decades,” she said.
“The foundation’s affirmation of our work gives my co-workers and me added inspiration and encouragement to carry on and remain focused, undaunted by those who persist in not only public funds but more seriously, destroying our moral fabric as people,” Morales added.
Morales served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 2002 to 2011.