Saturday, October 24, 2009


The Magsaysay Award has been introduced in the name of Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay. Who was Magsaysay and what was his political outlook? What for the said award has been introduced?

Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay (August 31, 1907 - March 17, 1957) was the third President of the Third Republic of the Philippines from December 30, 1953 until his death in a plane crash on 17th March, 1957. He was a diehrd anti-Communist. He was elected President under the banner of the Nacionalista Party.

On April 23, 1946, Magsaysay was elected as an Independent to the Philippine House of Representatives. In 1949 he was re-elected to a second term in the House of Representatives. During both terms he was Chairman of the House National Defense Committee.

In early August 1950 he offered President Quirino a plan to fight the Communist guerillas, using his own experiences in guerrilla warfare during World War II. After some hesitation, Quirino realized that there was no alternative and appointed Magsaysay Secretary of National Defence on August 31, 1950. He intensified his campaign against the Communist guerillas. He killed brutally thousands of Communists and Leftists as well as suppressed their just struggle. This success was due in part to the unconventional methods he employed and developed alongside an American adviser, General Edward Lansdale.

In June 1952 Magsaysay made a goodwill tour to the United States and Mexico.

He was convinced that the only way to continue his fight against Communism was to be elected President ousting the existing administration that, in his opinion, had caused the rise of the Communist guerrillas. He resigned his post as Defense Secretary on February 28, 1953, and became the Presidential Candidate of the Nacionalista Party, disputing the nomination with senator Camilo Osías at the Nacionalista national convention. In the Election of 1953, Magsaysay was decisively elected president over the incumbent Elpidio Quirino.

As president, he was a close friend and supporter of the United States and a vocal spokesman against Communism during the Cold War. He led the foundation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization also known as the Manila Pact of 1954, that aimed to defeat Communist-Marxist movements in South East Asia, South Asia and the Southwestern Pacific.

On March 17, 1957 Magsaysay died in a plane crash while flying back to Manila from Cebu.
The Magsaysay Award has been introduced to keep his memory and anti-Communist measures alive and encourage the staunch anti-Communist intellectuals of Asia.

The award under the name and style “Magsaysay Award” has been introduced after his name to felicitate and acknowledge blind anti-Communist intellectuals only working in Asia in order to encourage and promote them in their activities.
Mahasweta Devi and Sambhu Mitra are two such intellectuals in India who received this award with pride.

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