Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu called for a concerted global effort to prevent the critically endangered Philippine eagle—a national treasure symbolizing the country’s identity—from becoming extinct.

“As an endemic species, the Philippine eagle already serves as a global heritage that requires concerted efforts of the international community for conservation,” Cimatu said as the nation celebrates Philippine Eagle Week (PEW) on June 4-10.

Cimatu said the country’s decision to loan a pair of Philippine eagle to Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) makes a good starting point for bringing the efforts to save the iconic raptor to a global scale.

Barely two weeks after the historic wildlife loan agreement was signed between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and WRS, Philippine eagles Geothermica and Sambisig are scheduled to leave for Singapore on June 4.

“Sending Geothermicaand Sambisig to Singapore is a historical milestone and a tangible indication that the international community is needed in the protection and conservation of the Philippine eagle, the country’s national bird and crown jewel of biodiversity,” Cimatu said.

The two raptors will be staying at Jurong Bird Park, the largest bird park in Asia that is home to close to 3,500 birds across 400 species, of which 20 percent is threatened.

“With millions of tourists flocking at the Jurong Bird Park, where our Philippine eagles will live, we are bringing them closer to the international community in the hopes of encouraging international attention and support for their conservation,” the environment chief pointed out.

PEW is observed from June 4 to 10 of every year by virtue of Proclamation No. 79 issued in 1999. The declaration hopes to promote awareness about the importance of the Philippine eagle as a biological indicator of the forest ecosystem, a national symbol and a unique heritage.

The theme for this year’s PEW celebration is “The Philippine Eagle: A National Symbol, A Global Treasure.”

“Let this year’s PEW celebration instill in the minds of Filipinos the significance of our national bird and the desire of our nation to rise and soar like this national treasure,” Cimatu said.

Known as the largest of the extant eagles in the world in terms of length and wing surface, the Philippine eagle (Pithecophagajefferyi) is listed as a “critically endangered” raptor in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List and the country’s National List of Threatened Species under DENR Administrative Order 2004-15.

Wild population of the species throughout the archipelago remains precarious with an estimated number of least 400 pairs. Hunting and loss of forest habitat remain the primary threats to its survival.

As part of the week-long celebration, there will be free public screenings of “Bird of Prey,” an award-winning documentary about the Philippine eagle, from June 3 to 12 in Quezon City and across Mindanao.

The documentary will be shown in UP Town Center on June 3, SM Cagayan de Oro Downtown Premier on June 4, KCC Mall de Zamboanga on June 6, Robinsons Place Butuan on June 7, Robinsons Place General Santos City on June 10, and SM City Davao on June 12.

The Caring Cup of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, in partnership with Biodiversity Finance Initiative, Faber-Castell Philippines, Haribon Foundation and the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau, is holding a learning event called “Keep Them Wild” on June 8 in Quezon City. The proceeds of the event will be donated to the Wildlife Rescue Center for the construction and maintenance of new animal enclosures.

Designed for schoolchildren from 5-14 years old, the event will provide the kids the opportunity to learn and apply the basic techniques in creating an artwork using the Philippine eagle as the subject.

A similar activity will be held from June 5 to 11 in three barangays in Manolo Fortitch in Bukidnon, Butuan City and Davao City with youth from indigenous communities in those areas as participants. #