Ramon Magsaysay Awards

Filipino fisher Roberto Ballon among 2021 Ramon Magsaysay awardees

Jairo Bolledo
Filipino fisher Roberto Ballon among 2021 Ramon Magsaysay awardees

MAGSAYSAY AWARDEE. Filipino fisher Roberto Ballon is one of the 2021 Ramon Magsaysay awardees.

Screenshot from Vice President Leni Robredo's Facebook video

Other awardees of Asia's equivalent of the Nobel Prize are Muhammad Amjad Saqib of Pakistan, Firdausi Qadri of Bangladesh, CFSI executive director Steven Muncy, and Watchdoc Indonesia

Filipino fisher and community environmentalist Roberto “Ka Dodoy” Ballon was named as one of the recipients of the 2021 Ramon Magsaysay Awards on Tuesday, August 31. 

The Awards, established in honor of the late former president Ramon Magsaysay, is Asia’s premier prize and highest honor being given to individuals and groups who have impacted the Asian region and the world. It is considered as Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Ballon is the chairman of Kapunungan sa Gagmay ng Mangingisda sa Concepcion based in Kabalasan, Zamboanga Sibugay in Mindanao. The fisherfolk leader leads in the conservation of natural resources in their area situated in the Sibuguey Bay. He also helps communities improve their income through livelihood programs.

The Filipino awardee said he dedicated his award to his fellow fisherfolk. 

Iniaalay natin sa mga kasama nating mangingisda lalong-lalo na sa mga maliliit na mangingisda sa Pilipinas…. Sana sa pamamagitan nito, mas lalong makilala at suportahan ang ating programa bilang maliliit na mangingisda sa Pilipinas,” Ballon said during the announcement of awardees on Tuesday. 

(I dedicate this award to my fellow fisherfolk, especially the small fisherfolk in the Philippines…. I hope that through this award, there would be more recognition of and support for the programs of our small fisherfolk.) 

This year’s other awardees are: 

  • Muhammad Amjad Saqib (Pakistan) – for helping people through social entrepreneurship
  • Firdausi Qadri (Bangladesh) – for her commitment in vaccine development that saved millions of lives
  • Steven Muncy (Southeast Asia) – for extending humanitarian and peace-building efforts across borders
  • Watchdoc Indonesia (Indonesia) – for emergent leadership and for using journalism and filmmaking to give voice to the people 

The presentation of awards will be held on November 28. The annual award is presented in Manila every August 31, the birth anniversary of Magsaysay. 

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There was no awarding ceremony in 2020 due to the pandemic. According to Susan Afan, president of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, there were also no awards in 1970 due to the global financial crisis, and in 1990 due to the Luzon earthquake.

Prior to Ballon, the latest Filipino awardees were National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab (2019) for “nurturing young people’s gifts through the power of music,” and former ambassador and peace negotiator Howard Dee (2018) for “championing peace, justice, and economic growth for decades.” – Rappler.com