PEF run by people with heads in clouds
MY LETTER (“Data show ‘unfavorable score’ for PEF ‘releases,’” Opinion, 2/17/16) disproving Jayson Ibañez’s arguments for the dispersal program of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) pointed out that we have been losing precious Philippine eagles bred or rehabilitated by the PEF—six so far—in pursuit of a program that has no leg to stand on. Needless to say, the unfortunate shooting and wounding on Feb. 21 of Matatag, one of the eagles Ibañez bragged was safe in the wilds, would not have also happened at all if not for the pea-brained program. Ibañez’s silence after his vehement albeit logic-less rejoinder (“In captivity, eagle’s potential killed,” Opinion, 2/10/16) is an admission that the PEF’s releasing of more eagles is in flagrant defiance of reason and common sense.
Ibañez and company are so fixated with the idea that the eagles should be where nature means them to be—even when present-day conditions militate against such option—such that they confuse realities with the wished-for situation and habitually put the cart before the horse. For example, in their appearance before the Senate after the shooting to death of
“Pamana” in August 2015, they informed the senators that eagles are being killed due to poor enforcement of wildlife laws. Yet, earlier they had made 10 eagle releases as if the situation that comes only after consistent and effective implementation of the laws were already in existence. (If these PEF people were scientists researching for a cure for a human disease, they would have no need of guinea pigs because they will test the experimental medicine on their kind.)
But they cannot afford to not wait until there is sufficient and solid evidence that people in the targeted release areas are ready for the birds. They freed eagles, as a result of which some people ended up treating the precious national symbols as though these were ordinary birds. Which ironically set back the PEF’s own efforts to save the Philippine eagle from extinction.
It’s high time that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and concerned government authorities, and perhaps even former president Fidel Ramos under whose watch efforts to conserve the Philippine eagle started, stepped in. It does not serve best our national bird or its survival that giddy heads have full rein of the Philippine eagle conservation program, otherwise the eagles will just continue to incur needless casualties. The first agenda should be to make the present PEF leadership account for their harebrained and damaging dispersal program.
—ESTANISLAO C. ALBANO JR., [email protected]
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