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Winners of 2018 Philippine-Based Magsaysay Awards Announced

Magsaysay Award Foundation President Carmencita Abella poses with pictures of this years' Magsaysay awardees, regarded as an Asian version of the Nobel Peace Prize, in Manila, Philippines, July 26, 2018.

A survivor of Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime is one of six winners of the 2018 Magsaysay Awards, widely regarded as Asia's version of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Youk Chhang was cited by the foundation that awards the annual prize for his work as head of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, an institute that investigates and documents the atrocities committed during by the Khmer Rouge during its reign from 1975 to 1979.

Nearly two million Cambodians died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge through starvation, overwork and executions, including Youk's father, five of his siblings and nearly 60 of his relatives.

Another Magsaysay Award recipient is 87-year-old Howard Dee, a Chinese-born Philippine businessman who has devoted decades to social work and peace initiatives, including serving as a government negotiator with local communist rebels forces.

The other Magsaysay Award winners include Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz, who founded an institute to help impoverished people in her native East Timor get access to health care, education, farming and other self-help initiatives; Vo Thi Hoang Yen of Vietnam, a polio victim who founded a non-profit group in 2005 that has helped 15,000 disabled people in her native land become economically self-sufficient; Sonam Wangchuk, an engineer who founded a movement that helped poor students in his native Himalayan region of Ladakh pass college entrance exams and establish educational reforms; and Indian psychiatrist Bharat Vatwani, who started an initiative to treat homeless people suffering from mental illness.

The awards are named for the late Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, who died in a plane crash in 1957. This year's winners will receive their awards in Manila on August 31.