A proud moment for Net-Works

by ZSL on

ZSL's Madz Blanco, Net-Works Project Manager in the Philippines, has received a special award for his exceptional contribution to marine conservation. ZSL's Dr Nick Hill attended the awards ceremony and explains why Madz is a true inspiration. 

Madz with Nick Hill and Junafe Japson-Acejo of Hinundayan, Southern Leyte municipal government
Madz with Nick Hill and Junafe Japson-Acejo of Hinundayan, Southern Leyte municipal government

The awards, now in their 57th year, recognise outstanding citizens from the Southern Leyte region of the Philippines, where Madz is from. Madz was nominated by the mayor of his local municipality, Hinundayan. It was the first time that someone had been nominated in the field of marine conservation.

I was lucky enough to be in the Philippines at the time and I went along to the ceremony with Madz and his family. It was a wonderful event and a proud moment for Madz and his wife Luchie. Never one to let an opportunity pass, Madz used his short acceptance speech to talk about the issue of marine debris and put a challenge to the government of Southern Leyte to do more to address it. His speech was the talking point of the reception afterwards, and everyone was fascinated by the Net-Works story.

When I asked him what the award meant to him, Madz said: “I come from very humble beginnings but have always had big ambitions. I see this award as a victory for ordinary people, who dedicate their hearts and minds to pursuing their dreams, and through their focus and commitment, help make a difference in the world. I accept it with great humility and I hope that it will inspire and invigorate my work in marine conservation.”

Madz was in good company at the ceremony, with many of the other awardees equally impressive in their accomplishments. They included the first female combat pilot in the Philippine Air Force, who was recognised for her work in humanitarian disaster relief and counterinsurgency combat; an international expert in the field of organisational development; and one of the youngest people ever to pass the Bar exam in the Philippines.

The day after the ceremony I was reflecting on how, in today’s fast-paced world, our focus is always on getting to the next thing. Rarely do we stop and take the time to look around us and recognise the amazing work that people are doing. Madz's award was a moment to do this, and I know I speak for everyone in the Net-Works team when I say that he’s a true inspiration to all of us.

Find out more about Net-Works 

Select a blog

Careers at ZSL

Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.

Nature at the heart of global decision making

At ZSL, a key area of our work is the employment of Nature-based Solutions – an approach which both adapt to and mitigates the impacts of climate change. These Solutions, which include habitat protection and restoration, are low-cost yet high-impact, and provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife. We ensure that biodiversity recovery is at the heart of nature-based solutions. 

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!

Conservation

We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.

Science

From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Education

A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About

Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.