Indonesia’s anti-corruption commission has been named one of the recipients of this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of its relentless drive to weed out graft in the government.
The Manila-based Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, which confers the annual honor dubbed the “Asian Nobel Prize,” announced on Wednesday that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was one of five recipients of this year’s prize, given in honor of “greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia.”
It cited the KPK’s “fiercely independent and successful campaign against corruption in Indonesia, combining the uncompromising prosecution of erring powerful officials with farsighted reforms in governance systems and the educative promotion of vigilance, honesty and active citizenship among all Indonesians.”
Carmencita Abella, the RMAF president, said this year’s award recipients were “three remarkable individuals and two amazing organizations, all deeply involved in creating sustainable solutions to seemingly intransigent social problems in their respective societies, problems which are most damaging to the lives of those trapped in poverty or ignorance.”
“They all refuse to give up, despite daunting adversity and opposition,” she said in a press release. “They are all deeply rooted in hope. We have much to learn from them, and much to celebrate about their greatness of spirit.”
Johan Budi, a spokesman for the KPK, told the Jakarta Globe that winning the award would not have been possible without the hard work of the public, independent antigraft watchdogs and the media in bringing corruption to light.
“We will treat this award as motivation to work even harder and never give up in the effort to eradicate corruption, no matter how difficult it is or how long it takes,” he said in Jakarta.
He added that the award also came as a timely reminder to the KPK, amid political pressure to curtail its powers, that it was on the right track in carrying out its publicly mandated duties.
The other winners of the 2013 Magsaysay Award are Ernesto Domingo, a health care pioneer from the Philippines; Lahpai Seng Raw, a Myanmar aid worker; Habiba Sarabi, Afghanistan’s only female provincial governor; and Shakti Samuha, an anti-human-trafficking group from Nepal.
The KPK, which will receive its award at a ceremony in Manila on Aug. 31, becomes the latest Indonesian recipient of the prize named in honor of the former Philippine president who died in 1957.
Last year, Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto, who pioneered reporting on illegal logging in Indonesia’s national parks, was one of the recipients, while in 2011, Tri Mumpuni, a social worker, was honored for her foundation’s work to bring electricity to half a million rural residents by building micro-hydroelectric plants.