Your Excellency, President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, First Lady, Dr. Luisa Ejercito
Estrada, Members of the Magsaysay family, distinguished guests, trustees, fellow awardees,
ladies and gentlemen:
I would like to thank the Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, for
giving me this years Public Service Award.
Red Cross came into my life, at the time when I was restless and craving to do something
meaningful to consume me. I am a very intense person, and when I do something, I put my
and soul into it.
The one magic moment that attracted me to the Red Cross, was the sight of a dying child,
badly in need of blood. Realizing that the family had no one to turn to, I immediately ran
to the Red Cross. Hours after the blood transfusion, the child moved, as she struggled for
a new breath of life.
I was deeply touched. That very moment, I knew in my heart that the rest of my life would
be dedicated to the Red Cross. I found the answer to my restlessness. That first blood
brought me completely under the spell of the Red Cross. And now, after almost 50 years, my
heart still beats as strongly for this
Since then, public service became a part of me. For when we do something for the less
fortunate, without expecting any personal gain or recognition, we are doing public
True service is working quietly, without counting the cost, without expecting fanfare, nor
praises nor applause from anyone. True service chooses no time or place. Very often the
urgent call comes at the least expected moment, at the
most unlikely places.
The awards and recognition I have received may serve as a symbol of my accomplishments.
But to me, what I consider most precious is the memory of a dying patient, whose life was
saved because of the blood he received on time. The tearful eyes of an overseas contract
worker, who was raped and jailed, thanking me for successfully facilitating her return to
the Philippines. The happy face of a disabled, whose self-respect and dignity were
restored, because of the training skills that were patiently given him.
The award that I keep most dearly in my heart, is the joy of being able to share whatever
I have with others. I thank God for using me as a vessel, to manifest His love for His