DENR-12 takes steps to protect areas where Philippine eagles have been spotted in SOCCSKSARGEN

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AN EXHIBIT for the Philippine Eagle Week was set up at the Robinsons Place in General Santos City. — DENR-12 PHOTO

THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Region 12 is stepping up its campaign to help protect the Philippine Eagle by securing areas where they have been spotted. “Region 12 has recorded various sightings of the Philippine Eagle in the region. This is a good indication that these sightings from four provinces manifest that we still have healthy forests,” said DENR Regional Executive Director Red Nilo B. Tamoria during the launching of the Philippine Eagle Week (PEW) at the Atrium of Robinsons Place in General Santos City last week. Region 12 is composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani, and General Santos City (SOCCSKSARGEN). “Identifying these areas is crucial as basis to protect and conserve them to ensure their numbers will not decline,” Mr. Tamoria is quoted in a statement released by the agency. Leonisa C. Alfaro, assistant division chief of the Conservation and Development Division, said Philippine eagle sightings have been recorded in the Allah Valley Protected Landscape at Barangays Lamlahak and Tasiman of Lake Sebu within Allah Valley Watershed Forest Reserve, and Mount Sinaka of Arakan, North Cotabato. “There were already efforts to establish these areas as a critical habitat in partnership with the local government units (LGUs),” she said. The national bird has also been seen flying in Mount Busa, which is identified as key biodiversity area. Mapping on the site has already conducted and regular monitoring is slated for the coming year, she added. Ms. Alfaro said the DENR is working with the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) and LGUs to involve communities in the conservation efforts. “We are strengthening our monitoring by involving organized community groups as front liners in ensuring that this species should survive in the wild,” she said. As part of the risk management program, the PEF, through the DENR, recently sent a pair of Philippine eagles — named Geothermica (male) and Sambisig (female) — to the Jurong Bird Park operated by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS). “This move has been proposed to DENR 10 years ago as part of a larger risk management program for the species’ population,” PEF Executive Director Dennis I. Salvador said in an earlier interview. The Philippine Eagle Week, established through Presidential Proclamation No. 79 of 1999, is celebrated June 4-10 every year. — with a report from Maya M. Padillo