The Magsaysay Foundation has stated: "In electing Gethsie Shanmugam to receive the 2017 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes “her compassion and courage in working under extreme conditions to rebuild war-scarred lives, her tireless efforts over four decades in building Sri Lanka’s capacity for psychosocial support, and her deep, inspiring humanity in caring for women and children, war’s most vulnerable victims".
The Ramon Magsaysay honour is considered the most prestigious award in Asia. Mrs. Shanmugam was among five individuals and one institution receiving the honour in 2017 for significant contributions including in the fields public service, culture, rights, and community service.
The annual award established to perpetuate former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay's example of integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.The award ceremony was graced by several dignitaries, including Vice President Leni Robredo and former President Fidel V. Ramos.
Mrs. Shanmugam received the award from Vice President Leni Robredo and Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the Philippines Mrs. Aruni Ranaraja was present on the occasion.
Embassy of Sri Lanka - Manila