“I believe that Government starts at the bottom and moves upward, for Government exists for the welfare of the masses of the nation. . .” – President Ramon Magsaysay’s Credo
“RAMON DEL FIERRO MAGSAYSAY WAS THE THIRD PRESIDENT OF THE REPUB-LIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (30 DECEMBER 1953- 17 MARCH 1957) AFTER WORLD WAR II. HIS LIFE HAD GREAT IMPACT NOT ONLY IN HIS COUNTRY BUT ON MANY PEOPLE IN MANY LANDS. HE WAS ONE OF THE OUTSTANDING LEADERS OF HIS TIME.
“MAGSAYSAY COMMANDED THE ADMIRATION, RESPECT AND AFFECTION OF PEOPLE BECAUSE HE WAS A SIMPLE, HUMBLE MAN; BE-CAUSE HE CARED FOR ALL PEOPLE AS INDIVIDUALS AND BELIEVED IN THEIR DIGNITY AND IMPORTANCE; AND BECAUSE HE HAD THE COURAGE OF HIS CONVIC-TIONS. HIS OBJECTIVE WAS TO IMPROVE THE LOT OF HIS FELLOW FILIPINOS AND HE APPROACHED THE TASK WITH SELFLESS DEVOTION. HE WAS CONVINCED THAT GOVERNMENT, TO LAST AND TO BE SOUND, MUST HAVE INTEGRITY AND REFLECT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. . .” (http;//rmaward.asia/ramon-del-fierro-magsaysay-1907-1957/).
A MAN WITH A LIBERATING SPIRIT, MAGSAYSAY SAW HIS FELLOW HUMAN BEING BORN WITH THE RIGHT TO LIVE IN LIBERTY AND HAPPI-NESS. HE WAS ANGERED AT INJUSTICE AND THE VIOLATION OF HIGH PRINCIPLES.
HE WORKED TO BUILD A NATION- A WORLD – IN WHICH ALL PEOPLE WERE FREE AND LIVED IN HONOR AND PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER.
THE WORLD IS RICHER AND BETTER BECAUSE RAMON MAGSAYSAY LIVED. HIS SPIRIT WILL CONTINUE TO BE AN INSPIRATION. HE EXEMPLIFIES THE HIGH-EST TYPE OF LEADERSHIP.
THE MAGSAYSAY AWARD “I BELIEVE THAT THIS NATION IS ENDOWED WITH A VIBRANT AND STOUT HEART, AND POSSESSES UNTAPPED CAPABILITIES AND INCREDIBLE RESILIENCY. . .” (RM CREDO)
The Magsaysay Award, known as Asia’s Premier Prize, is now on its 59th year of “honoring greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in selﬂess service to the people of Asia”. Since its inception,. Over 300 individuals and organizations have joined the distinguished community of Magsaysay Awardee.
Regardless of race, nationality, creed or gender- the award is given to persons- who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity, and in doing so have made contributions which have made contributions which have transformed their societies for better. Collectively, the awardees’ stories paint a portrait of remarkable change and achievement in areas as diverse as rural and urban development, poverty alleviation, public health, the environment, governance, education, business, human rights, culture, and arts.
ENCOUNTER WITH HIM THIS WRITER HAD PERSONALLY MET THE GREAT RM SEVERAL TIMES- THE FIRST TIME IN SEPTEMBER 1951 WHEN HE WAS REPORTING TO GHQ AFP AT CAMP MURPHY (NOW CAMP AGUINALDO) FOR HIS NEW ASSIGNMENT.
FVR has just ﬁnished his M.S in Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois on a one-year scholarship from the AFP, as a 2nd Lieutenant of the Corps of Engineers. A month before, he had applied to GHQ for a change of branch of service from C.E to Infantry sinde the DND-AFP, at that time, was into new campaigns against the Huks who “were knocking at the doors of Manila.” At that time, FVR felt that with four years’ cadetship at the U.S. Military Academy, he could be more useful in the Battalion Combat Teams of the Philippine Army than in the GHQ Technical Services.
MAGSAYSAY’S EFFEC-TIVE STRATEGY
WHEN THE HUKS UNDER JESUS LAVA AND LUIS TARUC REBELLED AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE OF AGRARIAN ABUSES AND SO-CIAL INJUSTICE IN THE LATE 1940S, THE AFP LAUNCHED LARGED-SCALE OPERATIONS AGAINST THEM. THE ARMY’S UNWIELDY FORMATIONS, HOWEVER, PROVED INEFFECTIVE AGAINST THE HUKS WHO CONSISTED OF MOBILE ARMED CELLS AND ELUSIVE LOCAL AUXILIARIES.
Reshaping his strategy, Secretary Magsaysay directed the organization of compact hard-hitting units, principally Battalion Combat Teams and Scout Rangers. The resultant small-unit actions that focused on endurance, stealth, tactical intelligence and jungle combat proved successful in hunting down the Huks through long-range patrols and ﬁrst-strike operations.
Early on, it was recognized that the real battle was for people’s “hearts and minds,” especially among the rural poor, whose loyalty had to be won by Government at every step. Knowing that even elite combat troops wouldn’t be enough to quell the Huk rebellion, Magsaysay enhanced his paciﬁcation campaign by effectively combining “all-out foce” (on the right hand) with all – out friendship (on the left hand) by including medical and engineering assisstance to poor communities and homesteads (EDCOR farms) for landless tenants (with rebel-returnees and retired soldiers as co-settlers) in Mindanao and other conﬂict areas.
THE COMMON TAO AS TOP PRIORITY
THE ULTIMATE BOTTOM-LINE IN ALL THESE EXEMPLARY RM STRATEGIES IS TO INVOLVE THE COMMON TAO (PEOPLE) IN THE PRIORITY ROLE OF STAKEHOLD-ERS AND PARTICIPANTS IN BUILDING ENDURING PEACE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT- WHERE THERE IS TRUE INCLUSIVENESS AND MUTUAL SHARING OF BENEFITS FOR ALL.
THE BASIC CONCEPT OF THE COMMON TAO AS THE PRINCIPAL FACTOR IN AND ULTIMATE BENEFACTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, INDEED, IS AS RELEVANT TODAY UNDER P.DU30’S PRESIDENCY AS IT WAS IN RM’S TIME.
AS RAMON MAGSAYSAY SAID FAMOUSLY: “I BELIEVE THAT THE LITTLE MAN IS FUNDAMENTALLY ENTITLED TO A LITTLE BIT MORE FOOD IN HIS STOMACH, A LITTLE MORE CLOTH IN HIS BACK AND A LITTLE MORE ROOF OVER HIS HEAD. . .” PRESIDENT RAMON MAGSAYSAY’S “CREDO”
KAYA BA NATIN TO???
By Fidel V. Ramos