A FILIPINA doctor and children’s right crusader was among the four laureates of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awards, considered as Asia’s Nobel Prize.
Bernadette J. Madrid, 64, was cited for her “competence and compassion in devoting herself to seeing that every abused child lives in a healing, safe and nurturing society,” the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation said in a statement on Wednesday.
She provides medical, legal and psychosocial care for children who are victims of abuse.
Ms. Madrid graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine and has headed the Philippine General Hospital’s Child Protection Unit since 1997. She has been teaching pediatrics for two decades now at UP Manila.
She was part of the executive council of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect from 2004 to 2010.
The three other awardees are from Cambodia, Japan and Indonesia.
Sotheara Chhim, 54, is a psychiatrist recognized for his work in mental healthcare in Cambodia that spans two decades. He also provided counseling services to victims of domestic abuse, rape and people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Japanese ophthalmologist Tadashi Hattori, 58, was cited for his free eye surgeries and treatment of more than 20,000 people in remote and disadvantaged areas in Vietnam.
Gary Bencheghib, 27, is a French environmentalist and filmmaker who was recognized for his efforts to clean up Indonesia’s polluted waterways.
He built kayaks from plastic bottles and bamboo to pick up trash in the Citarum River, considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
“It is the laureates’ heightened sense of the common good to pursue the life passions that make them illustrious,” Susanna B. Afan, president of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, told an online news briefing.
The awardees will hold virtual public lectures from September to December, and a livestreamed awarding ceremony will be held on Nov. 30, she said.
“The Ramon Magsaysay Awards has always represented the best of Asia and the best of humanity,” foundation chairman Aurelio R. Montinola III said.
The Ramon Magsaysay Awards started in 1957 and is considered to be one of the most prestigious prizes in Asia. It is given to people who have shown excellence in government and public service, community leadership, journalism and the creative arts, according to the foundation’s website.
It said 344 people have won the award. — John Victor D. Ordoñez