“If there is anyone who knows better the symbiotic relationship between us and the forest, it has to be our indigenous people. And so, we appreciate and support the call of our migrant indigenous group in the region to protect our Philippine Eagle and its habitat,” says Tirso P. Parian Jr., Regional Executive Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 8.
A tribal leader of a Mamanwa tribe has made that call having observed that the Philippine Eagle thrives on forests with thick vegetation, particularly in the forests of Burauen and Baybay, Leyte.
“I call on everyone living near or within the forests to help monitor any activities that may threaten the Philippine Eagle and their natural habitat. Let us help the DENR and their partners who are exerting effort to protect our Philippine Eagle,” says Mr. Junie Banagbanag, a tribal leader and designated as one of the forest guards in the area.
While he admits that their tribe used to hunt wildlife in the forest for their sustenance and as commodity that they sell to the community, they have ceased doing this after they were made aware that it creates an imbalance in the ecosystem and that it is prohibited by law.
“What we do now is to help in the continued search of the Philippine Eagle and to monitor the presence of wildlife in the area that are main food source of the eagle such as flying lemurs, monkeys and even civet cats,” added Mr. Banagbanag.
This call coincide with the observance of the 23rd Philippine Eagle Week with the theme, “The Philippine Eagle and Indigenous Peoples: Protecting our Forests, Protecting our Future”. This is also aligned with the DENR’s campaign advocacy, Tayo Ang Kalikasan.