The Environmentalist

Dr. Marge dela Cruz

Dra. Margarita dela Cruz led the environmental enthusiasts and concerned residents of Guiuan. They organized an institution that will save the coastal environment, they call it Guiuan Development Foundation Incorporated (GDFI), a non-government organization established in 1988 in the response of dynamite fishing. Their aim was to educate the fisher folk about the importance of preserving the ecology and to encourage them to go back to traditional and safe fishing methods. She also initiated meetings with a number of volunteers and established a board which facilitate in environmental awareness, community organizing, and capacity building.

However in 1990, the organization started the rehabilitation of the environment with the help of the Philippine Coconut Authority. The following year, the very first marine sanctuary was created at the Island of Bagum- Banua and became a model for other marine sanctuaries. Thereafter, the alliance of 7 or A7was established, composing the municipalities of South Eastern Samar; Mercedeslos, Salcedo, Quinapondan, Giporlos, Balangiga, Lawaan, and Guiuan. Next was environmental education. The team first simplified the methods so the fisherman could easily adopt it. She has also written and published a handbook on coral monitoring management with the help of the marine institute. Our environment has a fighting chance after all.

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