Conservation and protection efforts for the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) were emphasized during the recent visit of the National REDD+ Project in Davao City on October 11, 2016. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, with support from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) have been working together for the conservation of the natural habitat of the Philippine Eagle, a critically endangered forest raptor endemic to the Philippines and considered to be one of the three largest and most powerful eagles in the world.

The conservation of the country’s rich biological diversity is also embodied in the forest and land use plan (FLUP) and the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development Protection Plan (ADSDPP).

“Both the ADSDPP and the FLUP are important documents as they guide the implementation of all measures and programs that concerns not only the environment but also the invaluable contribution of the indigenous peoples (IPs). Its significance is even more highlighted because it concerns habitat designation, which defines appropriate measures that sustain life for the IPs and ensures protection of wildlife, particularly the Philippine Eagle, that has made the lush forests of the three east coast towns of Davao Oriental, its habitat,” National REDD+ Project Principal Advisor Dr. Bernd-Markus Liss said.

The Province of Davao Oriental and the three local government units (LGUs) of the municipalities of Tarragona, Caraga and Manay have been pushing for the proposed Critical Habitat Declaration to ensure that the Philippine Eagle and other kinds of wildlife are protected.

To date, the Municipality of Tarragona has already declared at least 2,500 hectares of critical habitat under local ordinance, and Caraga and Manay are set to come up with their own local declarations. The consolidated declarations will lead to a total of 30,000 hectares to be covered within the Critical Habitat.

To complement the government’s conservation and protection initiatives, PEF has been providing a safe habitat for rescued Philippine Eagles over the years, with enhanced technical assistance and awareness raising support from GIZ and other development partners.

The convergence of different agencies, LGUs, and the IPs working together to promote the survival of the Philippine Eagle and biodiversity is an exceptional assurance that the “Haring Ibon” will soar our skies and forests once more.