By Sean Rafio
An Ilongga pediatrician dubbed as a “children’s rights crusader” is among the recipients of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awards.
Dr. Bernadette Madrid was cited by the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation for her “competence and compassion in devoting herself to seeing that every abused child lives in a healing, safe and nurturing society” in choosing her for the award, considered Asia’s highest honor.
The 64-year-old was lauded for helping thousands of children, women, and countless others in “her leadership in running a multisectoral, multidisciplinary effort in child protection that is admired in Asia.”
“In electing Bernadette J. Madrid to receive the 2022 Ramon Magsaysay Awards, the board of trustees recognizes her unassuming and steadfast commitment to a noble and demanding advocacy… and her competence and compassion in devoting herself to seeing that every abused child lives in a healing, safe and nurturing society,” the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation said on Wednesday.
Madrid, born to a family of professionals in Iloilo, studied medicine and pediatrics at the University of the Philippines Manila. She did her post-residency fellowship in ambulatory pediatrics at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
Upon her return to Iloilo, Madrid pursued private practice until she headed back to Manila in 1996 to lead the emergency unit for abused children in PGH. The unit has since served 27,639 children as of end-2021.
She has also been teaching Pediatrics for two decades at the University of the Philippines Manila.
Madrid currently heads the Child Protection Unit of the Philippine General Hospital, which she helped establish.
The institution, consisting of 123 units across 61 provinces and 10 cities, has so far served 119,965 children and teenagers as well as 30,912 women as of 2021.
Madrid joined Cambodian psychiatrist and mental health advocate Sotheara Chim, Japanese ophthalmologist and humanitarian Tadashi Hattori, and French environmental activist Gary Bencheghib as this year’s Ramon Magsaysay awardees.
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Awards, widely regarded as Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, honors individuals who performed “selfless service to the peoples of Asia.”