President Benigno S. Aquino III, assisted by Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) chairperson Dr. Maria Cynthia Rose Bautista, presents the medal and certificate to Syenda Rizwana Hasan from Bangladesh as one of the awardees during the RMAF 2012 Presentation Ceremonies at the Plenary Hall, Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on Friday (August 31). (MNS photo)

MANILA, Sept 1 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III attended Friday the 2012 Ramon Magsaysay Award expressing his admiration to the winners of this year’s award as he hopes that the awardees continue their work for the benefit of the Asian people.

“I believe that each and every person who hears your stories will find reason to be more hopeful about the prospects of all humankind. As President of this country, let me tell you — we admire your work, and I am hopeful that you continue helping improve the world that we collectively live in,” the President said in his message during the awarding ceremony held at the Philippine International Convention Center.

“As my people have assured me, so do I assure you: You are not alone. We are all allies in striving to live up to the example set by President Ramon Magsaysay, with his big heart, his honest mind, his sound instincts, his virtue of healthy impatience, and his abiding love for the common man,” he added.

The President also remembered Interior and Local government Secretary Jesse Robredo, also a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, who served his countrymen following the visions of the late Philippine president.

He described Robredo as “unassuming, unpretentious, and a very effective” leader who kept himself close to the people. Although busy doing his duties as a government official, the late secretary remained a simple husband and father to his family, the President noted.

The nation suffered a great loss when Robredo died, the President continued, noting however that Friday’s awarding ceremonies would remind the people that there are still excellent, like-minded individuals continuing to work here in the Philippines or in other countries for the benefit of the greater number of people.

“And, truly, that is the greatest tribute we can make to the memory of a great man, the late President Ramon Magsaysay and all past winners of this award – getting back to work, and fulfilling, in our own small ways, their grand vision for the world,” he said.

Among the 2012 Ramon Magsaysay awardees include Chen Shu-Jui (Taiwan), Kulandei Francis (India), Syeda Rizwana Hasan (Bangladesh), Yang Saing Koma (Cambodia), and Romulo Davide (Philippines)

The Ramon Magsaysay Award was created in 1957, the year the late President Magsaysay died in a plane crash in Cebu. President Magsaysay was well-loved for his simplicity and humility, passion for justice and his advancement of human dignity.

The Philippine government, the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) established the Award to honor his memory and perpetuate his example of integrity in public service and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.

The Magsaysay award program pursues the mission of “honoring greatness of spirit in selfless service to the peoples of Asia.” The award is given to persons – regardless of race, nationality, creed or gender – who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity, which have improved their societies.

Currently, the Ramon Magsaysay Award program is managed by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) board of trustees composed of nine Filipinos serving staggered four-year terms. (MNS)