PETA, PH's Lilia de Lima among 2017 Ramon Magsaysay awardees

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 27, 2017

Other recipients of this year's Ramon Magsaysay Award include former Philippine Economic Zone Authority director-general Lilia de Lima, Japanese scholar Yoshiaki Ishizawa, indigenous rights campaigner Abdon Nababan of Indonesia, psychosocial consultant Gethsie Shanmugam of Sri Lanka, and Singaporean Tony Tay, who organized the non-profit organization "Willing Hearts".

De Lima was recognized by the foundation for her "unstinting sustained leadership in building a credible and efficient PEZA, proving that the honest, competent, and dedicated work of public servants can, indeed, redound to real economic benefits to millions of Filipinos".

In the past five decades, the award has been bestowed on over 300 outstanding men, women and organizations whose selfless service has offered their societies, Asia, and the world successful solutions to some of the most intractable problems of human development.

At the awards ceremony, the recipients will receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the image of Magsaysay, and a cash prize.

The awards, named for a popular Philippine president who was killed in a plane crash, were set up in 1957 by the trustees of the New York-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Under her leadership, the country gained recognition for being one of the region's top investment destinations.

"Over five decades, PETA has produced 540 original, translated, or adapted plays, reaching an audience of close to a million across the nation and overseas; it has helped form more than three hundred community-based culture collectives; and conducted training workshops that have involved 4,650 artists, school teachers, community leaders, and development workers". Among the radical policies that made this possible were a shift from government-financed to private sector-led ecozone development; streamlined 24/7 PEZA operations to reliably service global locators; investor-friendly regulations, purposeful interagency partnerships, and strengthened relations with local governments in the ecozones.

During her term, PEZA's accomplishments have been nothing short of spectacular.

De Lima and theater group PETA are the only awardees from the Philippines. In everything she has done, she remains humble saying that she can not solve problems of the world. For fifteen years, PETA has been true to its vision as a "national theater" and a "people's theater". Focused on the trifold goals of artistic excellence, holistic education, and social development, PETA has fostered people's creativity in combining the traditional and contemporary; infusing this creativity into the pedagogical practices of the country's schools; and advancing a people's development agenda by empowering communities and releasing their creative energies to effect positive social change. Then in 2013, working with local partners in the immediate aftermath of super-typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda's devastation, PETA launched the bold initiative Lingap Sining (Nurturing Through the Arts), a culturally-grounded, participatory program in Leyte province that creatively harnessed the arts in interventions ranging from emergency relief and psychosocial debriefings to disaster preparedness training and the building of more resilient, DRR (disaster risk reduction)-ready communities.

The Philippine Educational Theater Association was recognised for its "bold, collective contributions in shaping the theater arts as a force for social change".

To date, PETA produced and performed around 540 plays (original, translated, or adapted) to about a million people both locally and internationally.

When Sri Lanka was ravaged by the horrendous 2004 tsunami, which left 31,000 confirmed dead, Gethsie trained eighty school teachers in a government pilot program to provide a supportive environment for traumatized children.

We take extraordinary pride in introducing the 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees to the world.

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