Tandag City, Surigao del Sur (07 June 2016) – Some of the majestic Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jifferyi) are discovered in some forest areas of Surigao del Sur that has a total forestland of 345,226 hectares as part of Mount Hilong-Hilong Range to be its natural habitat.
DENR-PENRO Surigao del Sur Protected Area, Biodiversity and Eco-tourism chief Eddie G. Duhaylungsod bared that two years ago there were two Philippine Eagles that were rescued in sitio Banbanon, barangay Banahao in municipality of Lianga, Surigao del Sur on October 6 and December 11, 2014.
Duhaylungsod revealed also that there are Philippine Eagle sightings in Bislig Key Biodiversity Area particularly at the Tinuy-an Falls, in former timber land area of the defunct Surigao Development Corporation (SUDECOR), and in the erstwhile timber concession area of PICOP Resources Incorporated in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur and neighboring provinces.
PENRO Surigao Sur Wildlife Enforcement Officer James Edgar Y. Pilapil disclosed that there is also sighting of Philippine Eagle in barangay Panaosawon in municipality of Bayabas, Surigao del Sur.
In 2007, there was a juvenile male Philippine eagle rescued in municipality of Carrascal and was turned over to Philippine Eagle Foundation’s former president and retired former commander of the Philippine Air Force Lieutenant General William Hotchkiss III who brought it to eagle center in Malagos, Davao City. The rescued eagle was named “Cantilan”.
Philippine Eagle was declared as the Philippine National Bird based on Presidential Proclamation No. 615 dated July 4, 1995. It is identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Critically Endangered with some 400 pairs are present in the wilderness.
Republic Act 9147 or Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 protects Philippine Eagle as one of critically endangered birds of the country. Under the law anyone who harm or kill critically endangered birds can be penalized with a maximum of 12 years imprisonment and penalty of one million pesos.
Other kinds of eagles which are present in the province of Surigao del Sur are Crested Serpent Eagles (Spilornis cheela) and Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) eagles found in municipalities of Lianga and Barobo.
Meanwhile, the DENR is intensifying advocacy and campaign to save the Philippine national bird. DENR renewed its call to help in the fight to save and protect the Philippine Eagle, as the nation celebrates the yearly Philippine Eagle Week (PEW) from June 4-10. An IEC campaign on RA 9147 to schools in Tandag is set to provide educational information and encouragement to all school youth for the wildlife protection.
The Philippine Eagle Week (PEW) was declared per Presidential Proclamation No. 79 issued in February 24, 1999. This year’s PEW theme is “Saving Eagles, Protecting forests, Securing our future: Stop the Killings”. (Johny S. Natad/ PENRO-SDS).