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Ramon Magsaysay Awardee: Behind ideology, there are power imbalances and injustices in peacebuilding

One of the four 2023 recipients of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, discussed the idea in her presentation that real, widespread issues like land, resources, power imbalances, unfairness, and inequality are what cause "unresolved" conflicts or hostilities in society rather than a single ideology.

“Behind the ideology, there are real issues. There are real issues about land, resources, unequal power distribution, and injustice. These are real issues that are universal. It doesn't involve just one ideology. And until we can look at these issues, then we won't change the ideology,” Coronel-Ferrer told Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) on November 8.

According to Coronel-Ferrer, "Every conflict has an element of ideological conflict. Because the conditions that gave rise to this ideology continue to exist and remain oppressive or continue to have that kind of power imbalance in which those in positions of authority can utilize the tools of power and the weaponry at their disposal, the ideology persists.”

She acknowledged that many individuals participated in movements due to their combat ideologies. However, "ideology itself does not pose a problem," she stated. "However, it is the fundamental principles that propel it."

The Filipina peacebuilder negotiator believes that the fundamental causes of these issues that galvanize the majority of individuals are the sentiments they hold dear, including their predicament, the sense of injustice they perceive, and the like.

Drawing from her involvement with the Bangsamoro group in the Philippines, she asserts that ideologies are in a constant state of evolution, given that they are not immutable.

“There are a lot of additions and changes in emphasis. I saw that when I studied, for example, the Bangsamoro struggle. They had to reshape some of the elements. For example, who is the Bangsamoro? You talk of yourself as a person. Then eventually they realized, well, we have to be more inclusive because if you just talk about this group of people in a territory where you have many groups of people other than them because of history and migration, then we will never get the support of a viable Bangsamoro. So they have been saying Bangsamoro are all of these peoples, not just the Muslims, not just the Moros. But everybody who lives in it is part of this project of having self-governance," she said.

On August 31, 2023, the Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) declared the 65th Awardees, such as Ravi Kannan (Hero for Holistic Healthcare) from India, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer (Women in Peace-Building Pioneer) from the Philippines, Eugenio Lemos (Food Sovereignty Visionary) from Timor-Leste, and Korvi Rakshand (Education-for-All Champion) from Bangladesh. The crowning of these recipients will occur on November 11, 2023.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.