MANILA — A trustee and conservationist at the Masungi Georeserve Foundation made it to this year's Forbes 30 under 30 list in Asia for her efforts in defending and maintaining protected areas in Rizal despite the problems brought by the pandemic.
Forbes named Billie Dumaliang under the social impact category, which honored those "systemically and sustainably transforming education, business and beyond."
Dumaliang and her sister, Anne, have pushed for regenerative tourism, which focuses on sustainability, to boost the country's tourism sector, aside from promoting and conserving the remaining forest covers in Rizal.
In a statement sent to ABS-CBN News, Dumaliang said this achievement is "another affirmation" of their "difficult work" in preserving the areas they oversee in the eco-tourism site, which have been hounded by illegal quarrying, attacks against their rangers, and harassment from entities.
"We have faced so many attacks and intimidations in the past few years for standing up for the Masungi landscape and the watershed, and for telling the hard truth," the 29-year-old said.
"I'm grateful that the international community continues to recognize the value of our work and the innovation we bring to environmental conservation in the Philippines," she added.
The award-winning Masungi team conserves and rehabilitates a portion of the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape, which they said serves as a "first line of defense" against rainwater from strong storms.
This is why the environmental defender also hoped the incoming Marcos administration would support the work they would do and even "expand" their efforts and "finally remove the persistent and eminently harmful activities and structures in these forests for the benefit of many Filipinos."
Dumaliang joined 29 others in the Asia-Pacific region in Forbes' list, which named 30 entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators under the age of 30 in 10 categories: the Arts, Entertainment and Sports, Finance and Venture Capital, Media, Marketing and Advertising, Retail and E-commerce, Enterprise Technology, Industry, Manufacturing and Energy, Healthcare and Science, Social Impact, Consumer Technology.
Early last year, Vanity Fair also recognized the Dumaliang sisters in their Changing Your Mind Travel Awards 2021 for protecting the nature reserve.