Professor Margarita dela Torre- dela Cruz is an educator, researcher and development worker committed to the promotion of quality education, research and development, and community service. She highly values education and considers it an indispensable tool in her environmental advocacies.
She is the founder and Executive Director of Guiuan Development Foundation, Inc. (GDFI), Guiuan, Eastern Samar a local volunteer NGO dealing with coastal environment, resources and communities. It operates in seven coastal municipalities in Eastern Samar namely: Guiuan, Mercedes, Salcedo, Quinapondan, Giporlos, Balangiga and Lawaan.
Prof. Margarita T. dela Cruz is an untiring advocate for community development. She has steered many community development projects in the Southeastern part of Eastern Samar, notably on coastal resource management, on a voluntary basis and even using her own resources to see to it that these projects are implemented. For her untiring effort, she was able to initiate and support programs/projects like Livelihood projects on Seaweed Farming, Mud-crab Ranching in Maliwaliw, Ecotourism Project in Lawaan, Eastern Samar, Conduct of Ecological Awareness Seminars to high-school and out-of-school youth and elementary school teachers, Inter- LGU Alliance and Establishment of Marine Sanctuaries.
She was awarded the 2007 University of the Philippines Alumni Association on Community Service Visavas. She is also a recipient of the 2007 Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Performance as Assistant Professor, University of the Philippines Visayas and a Finalist to the RAFI Triennial Award for Exemplary Individual 2000). For her efforts, not only did the affected communities realize the importance of protecting and conserving biodiversity, they have also become strong advocates for the environment.
Prof Margarita’s efforts have made communities realize the importance of protecting and conserving biodiversity and have become strong advocates for the environment. She has also influenced other communities in the world with the publication of the Participatory Methods in Coastal Resource Management, which is being used in other countries communities in other countries, eg. Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia.