Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City
31 August 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III honored the five individuals from India, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines who were chosen this year to receive the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Awards during the formal Presentation Ceremonies held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in Pasay City.

Each awardee received a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President Ramon Magsaysay, and a cash prize. They now join the community of 307 other Magsaysay laureates who have been conferred Asia’s highest honor which is widely regarded as the region’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

In his message, President Aquino recognized all the five awardees for choosing to leave their comfort zones and answering the call to serve people in their respective communities, and even extended to their societies.

“Shall we choose the hard right, or the easy wrong, and find in ourselves the strength to do what is right. Our awardees here are the perfect examples of that. Each of them has transcended the ‘individual’ perspective,” the President said.

Furthermore, he hailed the laureates’ willingness to struggle and endure hardship for a greater cause, stressing that it is only fitting to pay them tribute as they are the modern-day heroes needed today not only of Filipinos, but of people the world over.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established in 1957, the same year when the country lost in a plane crash the third Philippine president after whom the award is named. Celebrating the memory and leadership example of the late president, the award 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 beloved Filipino leader.

The 2015 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees are:

Kommaly Chanthavong (Laos) – for “her fearless, indomitable spirit to revive and develop the ancient Laotian art of silk weaving, creating livelihoods for thousands of poor, war-displaced Laotians, and thus preserving the dignity of women and her nation’s priceless silken cultural treasure.”

Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa (Philippines) – for “her single-minded crusade in preserving the endangered artistic heritage of southern Philippines, and in creatively propagating a dance form that celebrates and deepens the sense of shared cultural identity among Asians.”

Anshu Gupta (India) – for “his creative vision in transforming the culture of giving in India, his enterprising leadership in treating cloth as a sustainable development resource for the poor, and in reminding the world that true giving always respects and preserves human dignity.”

Kyaw Thu (Myanmar) – for “his generous compassion in addressing the fundamental needs of both the living and the dead in Myanmar – regardless of their class or religion – and his channeling personal fame and privilege to mobilize many others toward serving the greater social good.” 

Sanjiv Chaturvedi (India) for Emergent Leadership – for “his exemplary integrity, courage and tenacity in uncompromisingly exposing and painstakingly investigating corruption in public office, and his resolute crafting of program and system improvements to ensure that government honorably serves the people of India.”

The Presentation Ceremonies of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards is held annually in Manila, Philippines on 31 August which is the birth anniversary of the late President. This year’s theme – “Stoking Fresh Hopes for a Better Asia” – is proudly embodied by the Magsaysay laureates.