The major fundraiser
The editorial “Royal creature” (6/8/14) was much appreciated, as it has no doubt elicited much awareness for the plight of the Philippine Eagle and the long efforts of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) to save our national bird. In fact, the PEF believes that the fate of the Philippine Eagle, the health of our environment, and the quality of Philippine life are inextricably linked. The PEF is therefore committed to promote the survival of the Philippine Eagle, the biodiversity it represents, and the sustainable use of our forest resources for future generations of Filipinos to enjoy.
The Philippine Eagle Center in Davao—most ably run for many years by our executive director, Dennis Salvador—is one of eight grantees in Davao of the DOT-ADB-CIDA Tourism Grant Program covering Cebu, Bohol, Palawan and Davao, that is focused on improving tourism competitiveness. The Center’s grant will be spent on training in-house guides as well as other frontline service modules. This is part of an effort to further make people aware of our national bird’s plight, and the challenges to save it.
However, I would like to correct the misconception that “the Haribon Foundation … has long made the preservation of the species its focal point, apart from its environmental concerns.” We certainly applaud the over 40 years of effort and success of the Haribon Foundation vis-à-vis its environmental concerns, but I wish to take issue with the mention that the Philippine Eagle is a “focal point” of its preservation efforts. Please kindly note that Haribon (from its own website) is a membership organization committed to nature conservation through community empowerment, and scientific excellence. Curiously, its own name derives from “Haring Ibon,” or the Philippine Eagle itself, which you correctly pointed out. Haribon does use the Philippine Eagle for some of its publicity, and it does get involved in raptor research; it does educate local tribes in Philippine Eagle conservation (among others), all with good success, and much appreciated by the environmental community.
For the record, the Philippine Eagle Center trained Haribon’s people on raptor research techniques back in 2008. However, Haribon does not run an actual conservation and breeding center for Philippine Eagles as the PEF does; it does not track eagle breeding pairs as PEF does; it does not have the research capability or experience that our team has in this area. It does not provide any funds to the PEF, which is primarily supported by corporate and personal grants and donations, and overseas institutions like the Peregrine Fund, among others. My point here is: It is the PEF that has made the preservation of the Philippine Eagle specifically, its main focal point, and not Haribon.
Perhaps a visit to our Center will highlight the challenges of our work to save the Philippine Eagle, and to get our message out that we do seek and need support to help in our efforts, as we are THE major fundraiser in efforts to save our national bird!
—ROBERT C. MEILY LEHMANN,
president, Philippine Eagle Foundation
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