MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo, who is running for president in the 2022 elections, called on the governments of the world on Tuesday to embrace “radical solidarity” as nations begin to rebuild from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Robredo made the appeal in her keynote speech at the 63rd Ramon Magsaysay Awards.”
“For too long, service has been treated as taglines at worst, and as acts of charity at best. When people are in dire need, it is supposed to be the structures of society that address these needs — and not some benevolent leader handing down projects and programs as a lord of the manor does to his servants,” Robredo said.
“Inclusiveness should not be a matter of charity. It is the very rationale of governance. And this revelation can only be put into practice if those who govern truly understand the meaning of solidarity — walking in the slippers of the people not for show but for real, feeling their despair, carrying their burdens as their own,” she added.
“Only then can the structures blurred by patronage be seen with moral clarity—and be reformed, reoriented, or even dismantled to give way to a society animated by radical solidarity,” she further noted.
This year’s awardees Magsaysay awardees were Roberto “Ka Dodoy” Ballon, a Filipino fisherman and community environmentalist from Zamboanga Sibugay; Steven Muncy, a humanitarian and peace builder working all over Southeast Asia; Muhammad Amjad Saqib, a poverty alleviation visionary from Pakistan; Firdausi Qadri, an affordable vaccine champion from Bangladesh; and WatchDoc, media truth crusaders from Indonesia.
According to Robredo, human resiliency is what this year’s awardees embodied in spirit.
“We resume this annual tradition not necessarily in triumph over a darkness that still lurks, but in recognition of the human spirit that cannot be dimmed despite that darkness— that persists despite adversity; that, in the face of suffering or desolation, does not turn away or shrink, but rather expands with courage and compassionate resolve,” Robredo said.
This is the first time the Magsaysay Awards was held online, after last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.