PHL eco-social warriors bag Eco-Business A-List 2022 award

SUSTAINABILITY champions, entrepreneurs and social innovators from the Philippines who lead and represent both the public and private sectors that create positive impacts across the Asia Pacific (AsPac) region for prioritizing the environment and society, have been recognized and celebrated at the fourth edition of the Eco-Business A-List.

Mary Jean Feliciano, vice mayor of Brooke’s Point town in Palawan, was named among the 10 winners in the Eco-Business A-List 2022 for protecting communities in her hometown from unsustainable mining.

The event was held at a hybrid awards ceremony at a hotel in Singapore on March 3 with participants including local and international media.

It can be recalled that Feliciano was suspended from her mayoralty post without pay after the Ombudsman ruled in July 2021 that she went beyond her mandate for taking actions against Ipilan Nickel Corp., a subsidiary of Global Ferronickel Holdings.

Feliciano enforced in 2018 a cease-and-desist, closure and demolition orders against the firm that was reported a year prior by local residents for clearing forests in its concession bounded within Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, a conservation area that acts as the town’s watershed.

She returned to the City Hall after a landslide victory in her vice-mayoral bid in the May 9 elections last year.

“It hurts to be suspended for doing what is right,” she said. “But I am happy that the people believe in me and believe in my message that we should protect Brook’s Point and we should protect our mountains, the rivers, and the trees that gives us abundance.”

Joining Feliciano in the same category was GerWeiss Motors Corp. Chief Executive Officer Sean Gabriel Villoria for his mission to electrify three-wheelers in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Ann Adeline Dumaliang, trustee of Masungi Georeserve; and Niels Gabriel Nable, head of sustainability reporting and partnerships at Meralco, completed the roster of 10 honorees for the Eco-Business Youth A-List 2022.

The former was feted for her conservation efforts in the country’s last green corridor, while the latter was recognized for raising sustainability and environmental, social and governance reporting practices in the private sector.

The Filipino awardees in the 2022 Eco-Business A-List and A-List Youth bested more than 120 nominees across the AsPac region, including China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to Eco-Business Founder and Managing Director Jessica Cheam, they came from diverse backgrounds yet one in their commitment to create a positive impact in their respective fields.

“Faced with urgent challenges from the climate crisis to resource use and improving livelihoods, it is more important than ever for those in decision-making positions to demonstrate sustainability leadership,” she said.

“We hope that by spotlighting the efforts of these individuals, others will also be inspired,” Cheam added.