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PH theater group and Lilia De Lima among 2017 Magsaysay awardees

Images © Ramon Magsaysay Foundation web site

THE 50-year-old Philippine Educational Theater Association and Philippine Export Zone Authority’s Lilia De Lima are among the six 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) awardees composed of individuals and organizations from Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, and Sri Lanka.

Considered as “Asia’s premier prize and highest honor,” the foundation officials said this year’s Ramon Magsaysay awardees are:

  • Yoshiaki Ishizawa, from Japan, who is being recognized for “his selfless, steadfast service to the Cambodian people, his inspiring leadership in empowering Cambodians to be proud stewards of their heritage, and his wisdom in reminding us all that cultural monuments like the Angkor Wat are shared treasures whose preservation is thus, also our shared global responsibility.”
  • Lilia de Lima, from the Philippines, who is being recognized for “her unstinting, sustained leadership in building a credible and efficient Philippine Export Zone Authority, proving that the honest, competent, and dedicated work of public servants can, indeed, redound to real economic benefits to millions of Filipinos.”
  • Abdon Nababan, from Indonesia, who is being recognized for “his brave, self-sacrificing advocacy to give voice and face to his country’s indigenous people’s communities, his principled, relentless, yet pragmatic leadership of the world’s largest IP rights movement, and the far-reaching impact of his work on the lives of millions of Indonesians.”
  • The Philippine Educational Theater Association, from the Philippines, which is being recognized for “their bold, collective contributions in shaping the theater arts as a force for social change, its impassioned, unwavering work in empowering communities in the Philippines, and the shining example it has set as one of the leading organizations of its kind in Asia.”
  • Gethsie Shanmugam, from Sri Lanka, who is recognized for “her compassion and courage in working under extreme conditions to rebuild war-scarred lives, her tireless efforts over four decades in building Sri Lanka’s capacity for psychosocial support, and her deep, inspiring humanity in caring for women and children, war’s most vulnerable victims.”
  • Tony Tay, from Singapore, who is being recognized for “his quiet, abiding dedication to a simple act of kindness – sharing food with others – and his inspiring influence in enlarging this simple kindness into a collective, inclusive, vibrant volunteer movement that is nurturing the lives of many in Singapore.”

Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award “celebrates the memory and leadership example” of the 3rd Philippine president after whom the award is named, and is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same selfless service and transformative influence that ruled the life of the late Filipino leader.

RMAF President Carmencita Abella said “the Ramon Magsaysay Awardees of 2017 are all transforming their societies through their manifest commitment to the larger good.”

“Each one has addressed real and complex issues, taking bold and innovative action that has engaged others to do likewise. The results of their leadership are palpable, generating both individual efficacy and collective hope,” Abella said.

“All are unafraid to take on large causes. All have refused to give up, despite meager resources, daunting adversity and strong opposition. Their approaches are all deeply anchored on a respect for human dignity, and a faith in the power of collective endeavor. We have much to learn from the 2017 Magsaysay awardees, and much to celebrate about their greatness of spirit,” Abella said.

The awardees this year join the community of 318 other Magsaysay laureates who have received Asia’s highest honor to date.

This year’s winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late president, and a cash prize.

They will be formally conferred the Magsaysay Award during formal presentation ceremonies on Aug. 31, at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, which is open to the public.

August 31 is the birth anniversary of the late president, who was born in 1907, and whose ideals inspired the award’s creation in 1957.

Images © Ramon Magsaysay Foundation web site

In citing PETA, the foundation said the Filipino theater company, was founded with the initial vision of creating a “national theater” in the Philippines.

“Working out of a theater in the old ruins of Intramuros, Manila, this non-profit organization rose to prominence with ground-breaking productions in Filipino, the national language, that were remarkable for their artistry and social relevance, at a time of resurgent nationalism and deepening political crisis in the country,” the foundation said.

“It is today an integrated, people-based cultural collective engaged not only in performance but also in training, curriculum development, national and international network building, and mobilizing communities using a participatory approach that is rooted in local culture and responsive to real issues in the larger society,” it said.

PETA took the lead in the Greater Mekong Sub-region Partnership, which mobilized, mentored, and supported a host of performing artists from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and southern China to effectively undertake advocacy-through-the-arts on issues that included gender, health, sexuality, and HIV-AIDS, the foundation said.

“In electing the Philippine Educational Theater Association to receive the 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes its bold, collective contributions in shaping the theater arts as a force for social change, its impassioned, unwavering work in empowering communities in the Philippines, and the shining example it has set as one of the leading organizations of its kind in Asia.”

 

Ibarra C. Mateo
A journalist since 1983, Ibarra C. Mateo is also an editor, a researcher, and a communication consultant.

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