THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it hopes that Congress will prioritize the passage of the Tamaraw Conservation Bill to conserve the critically endangered Mindoro dwarf buffalos.  

“We hope that the House of Representatives and the Senate will keep this bill in mind in choosing priorities to ensure that one of our country’s biodiversity treasures are conserved and protected,” DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said in a news release on Thursday.   

The Tamaraw Conservation Bill or House Bill 8299 authored by Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato seeks to create a Tamaraw Conservation Coordinating Council and Technical Advisory Group, Tamaraw Conservation Program Office, and the Tamaraw Conservation and Research Center to take charge of research activities towards the conservation of the dwarf buffalos.   

Mr. Cimatu added that while waiting for the bill to be passed into law, he “thoroughly supports the proposed crafting of a Department Administrative Order for the Tamaraw Conservation Program.”   

The dwarf buffalo, endemic in Mindoro Island, was listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as critically endangered in the year 2000 with only 154 of them left then.   

In 2012, the DENR-Tamaraw Conservation Project, Far Eastern University, and the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines launched the Western Mindoro Integrated Conservation Program in an effort to increase the population of the dwarf buffalos.  

October is declared National Tamaraw Month. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago