Private groups join reforestation plans to protect PH eagle home

By Nef Luczon

May 3, 2023, 6:56 pm

<p style="text-align: left;">A file photo of the Philippine eagle.<em> (Photo courtesy of Philippine Eagle Foundation)</em></p>

A file photo of the Philippine eagle. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Eagle Foundation)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A power firm and a non-government organization have agreed to implement a reforestation and carbon sink project in Bukidnon province, a known sanctuary of the Philippine eagle.

In a statement Wednesday, Filinvest Development - Misamis Power Corp. (FDC Misamis), said it has partnered with the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) for the 20-hectare reforestation and carbon sink project located in Barangay Guilang-guilang, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Under a signed memorandum of agreement, the PEF will lead the reforestation of the grasslands, planting endemic species within the next three years, while FDC Misamis will provide funding for the entire project.

The project sits on Mt. Tago, the habitat of the eagle pair, which the PEF named Kalabugao and Guilang-guilang, the parents to an eaglet named Maluko.

PEF Research and Development Director, Dr. Jayson Ibanez, said the female eagle, Kalabugao, "became the world's first case of a rescued, rehabilitated, and released juvenile Philippine eagle surviving to sexual maturity and breeding in the wild."

The PEF first released Kalabugao into the wild in 2010 after nursing her back to health after being kept as a pet by a local farmer.

After her release, Kalabugao crossed to the new-found territory at Mt. Tago, where she met Guilang-guilang.

The two Philippine eagles have thrived in the area through the years with the help of the local community, specifically the Guilang-guilang Apo Datu Nanikonan Association, Inc. (GADNAI), as the site is part of their ancestral domain.

FDC Misamis president Juan Eugenio L. Roxas said managing carbon sinks is necessary to mitigate the impacts of climate change while preserving the Philippine eagle is crucial to maintaining biodiversity.

"Indigenous peoples, who have long-standing relationships with these ecosystems, play an essential role in ensuring these efforts succeed," he said.

PEF Executive Director Dennis Salvador said linking GADNAI with FDC Misamis could result in a prosperous collaboration.

"Not only for the eagles but for the benefit of the people and ultimately for the nation's interest," he said.

GADNAI plays a critical role in reforestation's success as part of the project component is capacity building for locals and providing alternate livelihood.

The carbon sink management program is the Filinvest Group's second project with PEF. Initial conservation efforts began in 2019 when Filinvest formally adopted Philippine Eagle PE-A-84-WM022, now known as Dagitab. (PNA)