Filipino fisherman among winners of 2021 Ramon Magsaysay Awards
A 53-year-old Filipino fisherman who boosted fish catch in Zamboanga Sibugay is among the winners of this year's Ramon Magsaysay Awards.
This was announced Tuesday in a virtual ceremony by the Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, its website said.
Roberto Ballon was cited '' for his inspiring determination in leading fellow fisherfolk in reviving a dying fishing industry by creating sustainable marine environment for this generation and generations to come, and his shining example of how everyday acts of heroism can truly be extraordinary and transformative.”
The other winners are Steven Muncy, Firdausi Qadri of Bangladesh, Muhammad Ajmad Saqib of Pakistan and Watchdoc, an Indonesian media organization.
Ballon and his group formed the Association of Small Fishermen of Concepcion in 1986 to focus on mangrove reforestation in their area to increase fish catch.
''Their perseverance attracted government support, reaching a milestone in early 2000, when the fishermen were granted tenurial rights to the reforested land under a government forestry co-management program, '' the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation said.
''The fifty hectares they replanted by 1994 had expanded to five-hundred hectares of mangrove forests in 2015. What was once a desert of abandoned fishponds is now an expanse of healthy mangrove forests rich with marine and terrestrial life,'' it said.
Fish catch has improved from 1.5 kg per fishing trip of eight hours to as much as 7 kg in three-to-five hours of fishing,'' it added.
Fishermen were able to buy a boat engine or simple household appliances and send their children to school, Ballon's citation said.
Watchdoc, Indonesia is being recognized for Emerging Leadership in an Organization “for its highly principled crusade for an independent media organization, its energetic use of investigative journalism, documentary filmmaking, and digital technology in its effort to transform Indonesia’s media landscape.”
Muncy was cited for ''his life-long dedication to humanitarian work, refugee assistance, and peace building; and his unstinting pursuit of dignity, peace, and harmony for people in exceptionally difficult circumstances in Asia.”
Qadri was lauded for'' her vision of building the human and physical infrastructure that will benefit the coming generation of Bangladeshi scientists, women scientists in particular, and her untiring contributions to vaccine development, advanced biotechnological therapeutics and critical research that has been saving millions of precious lives.”
Saqib created the largest microfinance institution in Pakistan which helped ''millions of Pakistani families.” DMS