The fourth (4th) episode of the PA Talk with the theme “Protecting Our National Bird: the Philippine Eagle” streamed live via Facebook on October 5, 2020. Atty. Ipat Luna in behalf of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda opened the event and facilitated the discussion of the episode. The PA Talk #ProtectedAreasForAProtectedFuture is a monthly online series that aims to promote public participation/involvement and support in the management and protection of protected areas by highlighting the biological, physical and cultural features of protected areas and by showcasing the various facets of protected area management.
Episode 4 showcased the best practices, initiatives and strategies implemented in Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (NSMNP), Mt. Kalatungan Range Natural Park (MKaRNP), and Mt. Apo Natural Park (MANP) in protecting and conserving our national bird – the Philippine Eagle. The Regional Executive Directors (REDs) of Regions II, X, XI and XII, Protected Area Superintendents (PASus), and PAMO technical staff of the said PAs served as resource persons.
Dr. Jayson C. Ibañez of the Philippine Eagle Foundation, the special guest of the event, talked about the behaviors of the Philippine Eagle and the importance of protected areas as refugia of the Philippine Eagle. He also highlighted five (5) unique characteristics of the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), which includes their habitats, food, and behaviors. He recommended that the government should concentrate the resources on three (3) Ns namely: 1. Nests – find old nesting sites and set them aside for conservation; 2. Neighbors – foster positive eagle-human relationships in communities living close to eagle nesting sites through community-based conservation; and 3. Job Niche – create green job opportunities for highly trained individuals. Dr. Ibañez also underscored the need for protected areas – the NSMNP, MANP and MKaRNP, among others, as refuge for eagle pair where they can breed and raise their young safely and continuously.
On the BMB’s end, Assistant Director Ortiz shared the strategies and milestones in ensuring that the challenges are addressed. She mentioned that the Bureau has recognized Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures or OECM as solid foundations for accelerated expansion of protected areas. Included also are various modalities of ecosystem governance such as Critical habitats under the Wildlife Act, Local Conservation Areas by the LGUs and the recognition of Indigenous Community Conserved Areas or ICCA which may include Philippine Eagle habitats. She added that another project, the biodiversity corridor will help address the issues on habitats of the Philippine Eagle. She too updated the public on the coordination of BMB with the DBM for the creation of plantilla positions for PAMOs to boost manpower requirements.
Deputy Speaker and Antique Lone District Representative Loren Legarda emphasized the need to intensely protect the Philippine Eagle not just by protecting them from hunters and human predators, but also by enhancing the biodiversity in the area. She underscored that this rare and majestic Philippine Eagle which is a Critically Endangered species should be conserved and protected for the next generations to see.