The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)—through its Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB)- marked the 25th Philippine Eagle Week (PEW) from June 4 to 10 by looking back at the successes and achievements in conserving the iconic and critically endangered Philippine eagle during a quarter of a century.

DENR Assistant Secretary and concurrent BMB Director Marcial Amaro Jr. said the celebration was also a reminder that there is more work to be done to ensure the survival and viability of the prized raptor often described as “national treasure.”

He said the Philippine eagle, whose scientific name is Pithecophaga jefferyi, is continually being threatened by hunting and loss of habitat.

“By conserving our national patrimony and strengthening our advocacies, we are able to improve and harmonize conservation efforts to put forward strategies and to curb the direct and indirect threats to Philippine eagle populations through relevant conservation actions concerning habitat restoration, law enforcement, management of captive and wild populations, research and conservation education,” Amaro pointed out.

Amaro said this year’s PEW theme, “Unity in Action: Achieving success together,” is a call to all Filipinos to protect forest habitats to conserve future generations of Philippine eagles and their territories, and allow new generations to thrive and co-exist with other threatened wildlife.

“The habitats conserved locally and protected by communities significantly contribute to environmental stability and security of human well-being, in the looming threats of climate change,” Amaro said.

The BMB had lined up several activities to celebrate PEW from June 6 to 9 at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City. Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) Executive Director Dennis Salvador and Maestro Fernando Sena, the father of Philippine Art Workshops, were among those who kicked off the four-day celebration.

One of the highlights of the event is the art exhibit dubbed “Isang Libong Obra Para Sa Agila,” organized by BMB and PEF in collaboration with the Philippine Fauna Art Society (PhilFAS), Buenas Artes Art Facility, and Biodiversity Finance Initiative Philippines.

It showcased art works depicting the Philippine eagle by Filipino artists, who even paid a registration fee that will be donated for the installation of a water system to a community that helps protect a Philippine eagle habitat in Davao City.

There were also art workshops conducted by the Buenas Artes and PhilFAS; audio-video presentation on Philippine eagle conservation; and an interactive presentation entitled “Fly Malaya Fly,” which chronicles the love of a mother eagle to her baby eaglet.
Special prizes were given to participants whose artworks best illustrate the Philippine eagle.

In September last year, DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga appealed to lawmakers to prioritize the passage of proposed measures to strengthen Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act during the joint hearing of the Committees on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change; on Finance; on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation and Futures Thinking; and on Ways and Means.

According to Loyzaga, the support of lawmakers in the amendment of RA 9147 is crucial in advancing collective efforts and initiatives to sustainably manage the country’s wildlife resources.

She added that the amendment of RA 9147 is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Targets 13, 14 and 15 (Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land) that call for urgent and significant actions to reduce the degradation of natural habitats and halt the loss of biodiversity.

In July 2022, Loyzaga—together with PEF ED Salvador—met with Dr. Robert Kennedy, a renowned ornithologist and pioneer advocate on Philippine eagle research and conservation, for possible collaboration to help save the Philippine eagle.

The Philippine eagle is endemic to the Philippines and is the largest forest raptor in the country. Found in the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao, the majestic bird has been classified as critically endangered under Department Administrative Order 2019-09 or the Updated National List of Threatened Philippine Fauna and Their Categories, and by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

PEW is celebrated every June 4-10 of each year in accordance with Presidential Proclamation No. 79, series of 1999, to educate the public on the importance and conservation of the country’s national bird, which is considered to be one of the largest and most powerful among forest raptors in the world. #