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De Lima, PETA win 2017 Ramon Magsaysay awards

Former Philippine Economic Zone Authority director-general Lilia de Lima and Philippine Educational Theater Association are two of six awardees of this year’s prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award.
As PEZA’s first director-general, De Lima was tasked to promote and regulate foreign investments in the country’s economic zones in 1995.
De Lima was recognized for “her unstinting, sustained leadership in building a credible and efficient PEZA, proving that the honest, competent and dedicated work of public servants can redound to real economic benefits to Filipinos.”
RMAF noted that De Lima “single-mindedly pursued a program of reform,” which halved the bloated 1,000-person bureaucracy she had inherited from a system of political patronage.
Under her watch, ecozones increased by 2,000 percent to 343 by 2016 from the initial 16 she inherited. Registered enterprises rose from 331 to 3,756, while investments reached P3 trillion.
De Lima retired last June 2016, after serving for 21 years.
PETA was praised for “its bold, collective contributions in shaping the theater arts as a force for social change, its impassioned, unwavering work in empowering communities in the Philippines, and the shining example it has set as one of the leading organizations of its kind in Asia.”
Now on its 50th year, PETA was founded with the initial vision of creating a “national theater” in the Philippines.
The foundation said PETA “rose to prominence with groundbreaking productions in Filipino, the national language, that were remarkable for their artistry and social relevance, at a time of resurgent nationalism.”
Other Ramon Magsaysay Awardees this year are Yoshiaki Ishizawa of Japan for “restoring Cambodia’s treasured gift to world culture,” Abdon Nababan of Indonesia for “giving compelling face and voice to Adat communities and their rights,” Gethsie Shanmugam of Sri Lanka for “rebuilding lives from the psychosocial wounds of war and violence,” Tony Tay of Singapore for “mobilizing collective goodwill to address hidden hunger.”
The Ramon Magsaysay Award, recognized as Asia’s premier prize and highest honor, “celebrates greatness of spirit and transformative leadership” in the region.