Miriam Santiago wants to probe death of PH eagle Pamana
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago wants to get to the bottom of the killing of Pamana, a critically-endangered Philippine eagle, in a Davao Oriental mountain range.
The senator intends to file a resolution on Monday, August 24, calling for an inquiry into the eagle's death in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mount Hamiguitan Range.
“There is a disconnect between the fact that Pamana was killed in Mount Hamiguitan, and the fact that the mountain range is a protected site. If we cannot protect wildlife in what we dare call protected areas, what kind of protection are we providing?” said the senator in a press release on Thursday, August 20.
Santiago had long wanted to investigate deaths of other Philippine eagles.
In 2013, she called for a probe into the death of Minalwang, a Philippine eagle shot dead in Mount Balatukan Range in Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental.
Last May, she also wanted a Senate inquiry into how kaingin (slash-and-burn farming) and other forest activities are contributing to the decline in Philippine eagle population on Samar Island.
Both resolutions have not been acted on by the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, which was formerly headed by Senator Loren Legarda. The committee is now headed by Senator Francis Escudero.
Santiago indicated that the accountability of local governments to Philippine eagle protection would be one angle to be pursued in the Senate probe.
“We must, on the one hand, empower local government units to strictly guard protected areas, and, on the other, make administratively liable local officials who grossly neglect to implement laws concerning protected areas,” she said.
Pamana, a 3-year-old Philippine eagle, was found shot dead on August 16 in the buffer zone of Mount Hamiguitan Range.
She was released into the wild only two months before, on Independence Day, after recovering from human-inflicted wounds in a Davao City rehabiliation center.
The national government is offering a P100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Pamana's killer.
Those with information can contact 0947-611-6083, the hotline for illegal forest activities in Mount Hamiguitan.
Local authorities are conducting an investigation into the matter.
Philippine eagles are close to extinction, with only 400 pairs left in the wild. They are threatened by loss of habitat due to deforestation, poaching, and the illegal wildlife trade. – Rappler.com