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De Lima honoured by Magsaysay Award

MANILA (AsiaNews): The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation has announced that this year it will honour five people and one organisation from around Asia for their contribution to the development of society.
 
At a ceremony held in Manila on August 31, the vice president of the country, Leni Robredo, made a rare public appearance to preside at the ceremony and make the presentation of the awards.
 
Somewhat controversially, the imprisoned Philippine senator, Leila de Lima, who is currently being held in detention on highly spurious charges of trafficking in drugs, was recognised by the award foundation.
 
Others recognised were Japanese historian, Yoshiaki Ishizawa, for his work in protecting the Cambodian Angkor Wat temples as a cultural monument; and Indonesian, Abdon Nababan, for “his brave, self-sacrificing advocacy to give voice and face to his country’s indigenous communities,” as well as negotiating the return of 57 million hectares of forest land to the communities in 2012.
 
In addition, Sri Lankan, Gethsie Shanmugam, was chosen for “her compassion and courage in working under extreme conditions to rebuild war-scarred lives” of displaced adults and children in northern and north-eastern Sri Lanka; and Tony Tay, from Singapore, for his work in distributing 6,000 free meals a day to the needy, as well as providing dental and optical care so that people may enjoy their food.
 
The one organisation on the list is the Educational Theatre Association of The Philippines, which was chosen for “its bold, collective contributions in shaping the theatre arts as a force for social change.”
 
De Lima was recognised for her unstinting, sustained leadership in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, which promotes and regulates foreign investment in economic zones.
 
Under her stewardship, the agency has had a positive impact on the lives of millions of Filipinos. The number of registered enterprises climbed from 331 to 3,756 under her guidance.
 
The foundation was set up in 1957 in memory of the post-war president, Ramon Magsaysay, who died in a plane crash.

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