Press Release
August 20, 2015


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is urging her colleagues to investigate the killing of Pamana, a Philippine eagle found shot dead in a protected area in Davao Oriental barely two months after it was released into the wild.

Santiago, sponsor of the treaty on the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity at the Senate, will file a resolution on Monday, calling for an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the death of Pamana and risks to endangered Philippine species in protected areas.

"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?" the senator said.

The Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental was declared a World Heritage Site in June 2014, with the UNESCO citing the area as an important habitat for the critically endangered Philippine eagle.

The Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), a nongovernment organization, released Pamana in the area in June, two years after taking the bird in captivity while rehabilitating it for bullet injuries sustained in April 2013.

On August 16, the PEF launched search efforts for Pamana, after the bird's tracker signalled its death. The group found Pamana only a kilometer from the site of the bird's release, with bullet wounds that are believed to be from an airgun.

This is not the first time Santiago called for a Senate hearing on the killing of a Philippine eagle, which the International Union for the Conservation of Nature considers a critically endangered species, or at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

In 2013, she filed Senate Resolution No. 342, calling for an inquiry on the death of Minalwang, a Philippine eagle also shot dead months after being released into Mt. Balatukan Range in Gingoog City.

She also filed S.R. No. 1347 in May, calling for an investigation on the impact of kaingin and other prevalent forest activities on the dwindling Philippine eagle population in the forests of Samar Island.

Both resolutions have not been acted upon by the Senate committee on the environment and natural resources to which they have been referred.

"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," the senator said.

Santiago remains on medical leave due to her lung cancer, stage 4, but continues to perform her functions as a senator by filing bills and resolutions. She announced in July that she intends to join the presidential race in 2016 with her cancer in check.

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