By Sam David Andrada, RMTLI NextGen Youth Leader
In one of her interviews, 2022 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee from the Philippines, BERNADETTE J. MADRID said, “To nurture a better tomorrow, we need to strengthen child protection in our country.”
My personal journey to nation-building is testament to her statement. Even at an early age, I have always wanted to serve my school. And as I grew older, the desire to take on greater responsibilities—expanding from my school to the larger community in my province—grew stronger. I am happy to share that my dream of being instrumental in nation-building is now a reality. There are many people who have paved the way for me and inspired me to continue on this path. One of them is Dr. Bernadette Madrid.
Dr. Madrid and I hail from the same province in the Philippines, Iloilo. Aside from her being an Ilongga, I admire her for dedicating her life to championing the rights of children against abuse and violence. She truly is a remarkable icon in the field of medicine.
Dr. Madrid’s greatness of spirit serves as a guiding torch to all of us who dream of a better life for children everywhere.
As a children’s rights and child protection crusader, Dr. Madrid saw a need in addressing the abuse and violence experienced by thousands of women and children. In her more than two decades in service, she has established various programs dedicated to helping them. One of these programs is the “Women & Child Protection Specialty Training for Physicians, Social Workers, and WCPD Police Officers,” which is specialized for physicians who conduct child abuse evaluations and give expert testimony in court; as well as social workers and police officers who are part of multidisciplinary teams that provide comprehensive care for abused women and children.
She has also chaired regional consultations spearheaded by the World Health Organization on the WHO World Report on Violence and Health and the Health Sector Response to Sexual Violence. She is also a member of the Executive Council of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and Chairperson of the Asian Forum. Yet, even with all of these remarkable achievements, she has continued to remain humble.
Dr. Madrid’s greatness of spirit serves as a guiding torch to all of us who dream of a better life for children everywhere. It is this greatness of spirit that inspires me to be accountable for the future of my country. It is this greatness of spirit that I wish to emulate in my own journey of nation-building.
I may be light years away from where Dr. Madrid is at this point in her remarkable career, but I will continue to do what I can in my own way. One way is by supporting programs in child protection, including Dr. Madrid’s. This is my simple way of giving back to the people who have also protected me, who have given me hope, who allowed me to dream, and helped me make them a reality.