‘Institutions at risk, but let us not be afraid’ – Magsaysay Awardee Howard Dee

Howard Dee
‘Institutions at risk, but let us not be afraid’ – Magsaysay Awardee Howard Dee

Inoue Jaena

Howard Dee is recognized for his 'quietly heroic acts of service to the Filipino people'

The 6 recipients of the prestigious 2018 Ramon Magsaysay Awards were officially recognized during the presentation ceremonies at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Friday, August 31.

Among the awardees is the Philippines’ Howard Dee, who was recognized for his “quietly heroic acts of service to the Filipino people,” and for pursuing social justice, peace, and progress for the poor. He also helped to establish development organizations Philippine Business for Social Progress and Assisi Development Foundation.

Here is the full text of his speech, as provided by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation.


Your Excellency, Madame Vice President Leni Robredo; my former boss President Fidel Ramos; Chairman Senen Bacani and members of the board of distinguished trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation; the Magsaysay family; fellow awardees; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.

It is with a deep sense of profound gratitude and unworthiness, that I receive this great and distinct honor, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2018. The accomplishments attributed to me, in truth, are not mine alone, but of many coworkers. We receive this award on behalf of our Lord and Master for whom we work: the “Omnipotent One in Three.” He is our motivation and our inspiration, the source of our strength of our cause. All that we do is to follow His commands and do His holy will. Nothing is impossible for Him.

There are a number of people I wish to thank. First of all, my wife Betty and my family for their love, prayers, and sacrifices to support and sustain my work. Then, I wish to thank the 5 presidents of the Philippine Republic who gave me their trust and the privilege to work for 5 administrations: their Excellencies, President Cory Aquino of happy memory, President Fidel Ramos. President Joseph Estrada, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

There are many colleagues, associates, and coworkers who gave me invaluable help in my social apostolate of 50 years. I wish to thank all of you in public service, in the peace office, in foundation work and development agencies, local and international, for your commitment to the cause of the poor and for your work for justice, peace, and development. Special thanks to our Catholic bishops, priests, religious and laity, and to our Muslim brothers and indigenous peoples of the Philippines.

We live today in a world of turmoil and uncertainty. All human institutions today are at risk: our democracy, our family, our national sovereignty. But let us not be afraid for it is in the darkness that our lamps should be lit. It is in the darkness that we see the stars at heaven. The victory promised by Our Lady of Fatima is near. Goodness and righteousness will triumph! Justice and peace will reign in our land.

And finally, my heartfelt thanks to the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation for keeping alive the legacy of President Magsaysay’s greatness of spirit, so that “those who have less in life would have more in law.”

Mabuhay Ramon Magsaysay! Mabuhay Pilipinas, ang bayang magiliw! Aming ligaya na ‘pag may mang-aapi, ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo! Salamat po. – Rappler.com

Read the speeches of other 2018 Ramon Magsaysay Awards recipients:

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