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Padaca asks Filipinos: Replicate democratic victories

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 31, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 17:52:00 08/31/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Breakthroughs and victories against “oppressive political structures” need to be encouraged and supported to be replicated, said Isabela governor and Ramon Magsaysay awardee for government service Grace Magno Padaca on Sunday.

In accepting her award at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Padaca also said political victories were “fragile” and asked for continued support.

“Victories are fragile and they need to be supported and encouraged,” she said. “Please continue encouraging and supporting me.”

The Ramon Magsaysay Awards, recognized as Asia’s Nobel Peace Prize, celebrated its 50th anniversary today with Padaca as one of the recipients.

Padaca broke the Dy family’s grip on Isabela in the 2004 gubernatorial elections by raking in 55 percent of the votes, making headlines for toppling a political dynasty that spanned 30 years. Now on her second term as governor, she rose to fame for her campaign for democratic elections. Padaca also said that the “political victory” she achieved in her province must be replicated nationally.

“What we dared to do is to make democracy work especially in electing our leaders,” she said. “In less than two years, we will be electing our leaders and are going to the polls. We need to continue succeeding after raining hopes on our people.”

Meanwhile, Jaime Zobel de Ayala, chairman of the board of trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation, expressed hope that the Ramon Magsaysay Awards would be “Asia’s solution to global problems.”

Ayala also said that the future would not only connect countries and people but also problems.

“As we embark in the next 50 years, these global problems will remain unresolved without greatness of service,” he added. “The world will continue to become more connected and we will become more connected with each other. Wealth and prosperity will no longer have boundaries.
In the next decade, we will be forced to face the demands of growth and development.”

He said these “demands” include lack of access to resources, basic rights and accountability, among others.

Other winners of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awards are Thailand’s Therdchai Jivacate and the Philippines’ Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CAD MRI) for public service; India’s Prakash Amte and Mandakini Amte for community leadership; Japan’s Akio Ishii for journalism, literature and creative
communication arts; Indonesia’s Ahmad Syafii Maarif for peace and international understanding; and Sri Lanka’s Ananda Galappatti for emergent leadership.

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