MANILA - This year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awards presentation, set on Nov. 30, will see a “transition” as one of its laureates will serve as keynote speaker and the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation Center as its venue, the body behind the prestigious honors in Asia said over the weekend.
“This year is also a transition for us at the Foundation. To strengthen our identity as an Asian organization, we shall continue inviting prominent Asian leaders, including past Ramon Magsaysay Awardees, to be guests of honor at the annual Presentation Ceremonies,” Aurelio Montinola III, chairperson of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF), said in a statement last Friday.
“On this occasion, we are honored to have one of the world’s widely acclaimed leaders in the field of public health, education and community development, 1994 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Mechai Viravaidya from Thailand, to deliver the keynote message,” he added.
Mechai was conferred the Asian counterpart of the Nobel Prize in recognition of his “creative public campaigns in Thailand to promote family planning, rural development, and a rigorous, honest, and compassionate response to the plague of AIDS”.
Additionally, RMAF President Susan Afan disclosed that as this year’s awarding ceremony will go hybrid following the easing of COVID-19 protocols, the physical program will be held for the first time at the Ramon Magsaysay Center along Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
“It’s like coming home, and discovering a whole new vantage point,” Afan said about the new venue. In the past, the presentation of the awards was held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
“While the venue will be much smaller and the program much simpler than what we usually hold, we are aiming to reach a wider audience, across the Philippines and the Asian region who can join us through our various live-streaming platforms,” she added, noting that last year’s entirely virtual event garnered over a million views, “our best viewership to date”.
The CCP in September announced the closure of its theaters and indoor venues for renovation works from January 2023 until December 2024. The RMAF did not say in its statement if this closure has anything to do with the change in venue of this year’s awarding ceremony.
The RMAF said the 64th Ramon Magsaysay Awards will be livestreamed on Wednesday beginning 4:30 p.m. (Manila time) on the Ramon Magsaysay’s official Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Last year, the Ramon Magsaysay Awards saw a change in the schedule of its conferment ceremony to November from Aug. 31 of every year, which is the birth anniversary of the late Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay whose ideals inspired the creation of the awards.
That adjustment was made as the Magsaysay awards resumed following the disruption in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards for 2022, which carries the theme "Greatness of Spirit, Beyond Borders," are the following:
- Gary Bencheghib (Anti-Plastic Pollution Warrior) from Indonesia
- Sotheara Chhim (Mental Health Advocate) from Cambodia
- Tadashi Hattori (Sight-Saving Humanitarian) from Japan
- Bernadette J. Madrid (Children’s Rights Crusader) from the Philippines
"Their remarkable achievements are testament that Asia is a region teeming with seemingly ordinary people who are capable of doing extraordinary things," Montinola said.
"They are leaders who can truly change the world."
The award was established in 1957, the year Magsaysay died in a plane crash, and has since been bestowed on more than 340 individuals and organizations.