Filipino children’s rights crusader Bernadette Madrid wins Magsaysay Award

Bernadette Madrid Magsaysay Award
Filipino pediatrician and children’s rights advocate Bernadette Madrid is among the 2022 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees. Photo from Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation.

Filipina children’s rights crusader Bernadette Madrid of the University of the Philippines Manila – Philippine General Hospital (UP PGH) has won this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award for championing children’s rights in the Philippines.

The chief of the pioneering PGH Child Protection Unit (PGH-CPU) was announced among the four awardees of what is also known as Asia’s Nobel Prize and the highest honor given by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF).

The Filipina pediatrician was recognized by the awards body on August 31, 2022, for leading a “multisectoral, multidisciplinary effort in child protection” in Asia and “devoting herself to seeing that every abused child lives in a healing, safe, and nurturing society.”

Born to a family of professionals in Iloilo, Madrid studied medicine and pediatrics at the University of the Philippines Manila (UP Manila) and did a post-residency fellowship in ambulatory pediatrics at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Madrid currently heads the (PGH-CPU), the first of its kind in the country. The one-stop health facility provides a coordinated program of medical, legal, social, and mental health services for abused children and their families.

As of 2021, PGH-CPU has served 27,639 children. It became the axis of a national network of child protection units when the Child Protection Network Foundation, Inc. (CPN), a partnership of civil society, academe, and government, was established in 2002.

As CPN executive director, Madrid has designed programs and engaged with family courts, schools, hospitals, local government units, community organizations, and policymakers in advancing the cause of child protection.

In partnership with UP Manila, PGH-CPU, CPN, Department of Health, local government units, and the private sector, the Network of Women and Child Protection Units (WCPUs) was formed. The network now consists of 123 WCPUs in sixty-one provinces and ten cities, which have served 119,965 children and adolescents and 30,912 women.

“I feel that I was prepared to do this work. I was given the talent to do this and it has developed as I worked. That’s why I’m happy. It has become, for me, work that is God’s work,” Bernadette Madrid said in a statement.

Madrid and this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awardees from Cambodia, Indonesia, and Japan will receive a certificate and a medallion bearing the likeness of the late Philippine President during formal Presentation Ceremonies to be held on November 30, 2022, at the Ramon Magsaysay Center in Manila.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established in 1958 to celebrate the memory and leadership example of the 7th Philippine president after whom the award is named. and is given every year to individuals or organizations in Asia who manifest the same qualities of the late and beloved Filipino leader.

Previous Ramon Magsaysay Awardees from the Philippines include Roberto “Ka Dodoy” Ballon – the first Filipino fisherman recipient, the Philippines’ National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab, and former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See and Malta, Howard Q. Dee.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to UP PGH pediatrician Bernadette Madrid for winning this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award and championing children’s rights in the Philippines!

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.