BIODIVERSE. The Mount Balatukan range, as seen from Claveria, Misamis Oriental. Considered as the 'last frontier' of Misamis Oriental, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources confirms on Monday (March 15, 2021) the sightings of Philippine Eagles and eight other Philippine endemic species in the area, emphasizing the need to protect the mountain range. (File photo by Ercel Maandig)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 10 (DENR-10) on Monday confirmed that Misamis Oriental province's Mount Balatukan range remains the home of at least eight wildlife species, including the Philippine Eagle.
DENR-10 Executive Director Arleigh J. Adorable said the 228,680 hectares Mount Balatukan Range is now identified as one of the key biodiversity areas in the country with a "very high conservation category".
Adorable said the Philippine Eagle can be seen in the area with eight wildlife species such as the Philippine civet cat, "apo muna", coleto, Philippine warty pig, sunbird, mountain white eye, Mindanao lorikeet, and the Philippine long-tailed macaque.
The mountain range is also home to various flora species such as white and red lauan, nato, tangile, narig, kalingag, apitong, mayapis, malatibig, almon, bagtikan, dao, he said, adding more are going to be identified soon.

Now that the mountain range is part of the Convergence Area Development Plan (CADP), Adorable said stricter environmental rules would be observed.

He noted that despite the peace and order situation in the area owing to the presence of communist rebels, Mount Balatukan's biodiversity remains intact.

However, Adorable said wildlife hunting and rattan gathering activities "were also observed, and it's a major concern."

Meanwhile, Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano said the CADP seeks to improve, conserve, protect, and rehabilitate natural resources through environment-friendly enterprises and livelihood opportunities.

Launched in 2011, Emano said the initiative aims to "take bold and transformative steps urgently needed to shift economies relying on natural resources into a sustainable and resilient path." (PNA)