The Philippine Eagle Week (PEW) is celebrated every June 4-10 of each calendar year by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 79, series of 1999. Now on its 24th year since its declaration, the BMB intends to celebrate the PEW in Region 12 as a prelude to the release of Philippine eagle Salagbanog. It may be recalled that Salagbanog was rescued after being trapped among thorny rattan vines while preying on a monkey at Salagbanog Falls, Bgy. Ticulab, Sarangani Province on January 9, 2021. The bird’s x-rays revealed that a big “jolen” was palpable under its skin while a smaller pellet on the right clavicle was also detected. The injuries inflicted on the bird showed that these had probably occurred earlier and remained unnoticeable until its capture.
As we commemorate our yearly observance of the PEW, we are celebrating Salagbanog’s return to his forest home after 18 months of rehabilitation, an opportune time that this young bird would reunite with its kind. Salagbanog’s capture is a testament to the eagles’ continuing battle on the loss of its forest habitat and a chance for the bird to get back up on its feet, survive and live out freely thereby carving its own niche The battle for these birds is undeniably our own battle too.
With this year’s theme, “Kapayapaan at Kalayaan: Ang Agila at Mamamayan, May Kaugnayan,” we are reminded of our responsibilities as caretakers of the land and the importance of the Philippine eagle and other wildlife in sustaining life on earth. As responsible citizens, we need to usher in a new era of commitment to save our threatened fauna especially our national bird. We need to stand up and chart our path that will lead us to the next level of truly understanding the plight of our national bird. Devaluing the notion that some of these raptors are considered as pests, we must not undermine the bird’s major role in our ecosystems. The bird’s presence in the forests speaks of a sustainable and rich environment for its citizens, one that is enough to supply our needs for food, medicine, clean water, fresh air and the like. The shared responsibilities of conserving these and other wildlife should permeate all sections of society. We must continue to instill that human beings need wildlife for their own survival. And every species has the right to survive as nature allows its existence. Only when we do what is right for wildlife and biodiversity as a whole, can we fulfill our duty as stewards of the land. Therefore, today, as we let go of a national treasure to give one more bird a chance to be free again, that we may we be reminded that wildlife, just like people, have to fulfill their roles for the sustenance of life on earth.