Ex-mayor's plea: Create and boost programs to protect migratory birds

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 12 2021 11:47 AM

MANILA— Birds, whether resident or migratory, help keep the balance of ecosystems and should be protected, former Candaba, Pampanga mayor Jerry Pelayo said Friday.

This comes as a plea after 129 Common moorhen or “Uwis” and 60 Buff-banded rail or “Tikling” were found by the regional environment office being sold in a market in Baliuag, Bulacan. 

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Department of Environment and Natural Resources Central Luzon Regional Public Affairs Office Chief Donaver Guevarra said that the operation, which failed to apprehend the suspect but was able to rescue and free the birds put for sale, was not planned.

A DENR employee spotted the suspect selling the birds in a Baliuag market while on the way to work, and the local office responded upon the report. 

"Dapat gumawa ng programa para bantayan ang ating mga ibon (Programs should be created to better protect our birds)," Pelayo told TeleRadyo.

Candaba Vice Mayor Michael Sagum said that the birds may not have been caught in the Candaba swamplands, and may have been poached in the neighboring swamp areas of San Luis, Pampanga, or Bulacan.

He added that the local government unit is studying how to further promote "agro-tourism" among its farmers and tourists who visit the province to see the migratory birds. 

Pelayo said programs during his term helped promote birds as an ally of farmers that protected crops by eating insects that plagued fields. Migratory birds have been observed annually in Candaba's wetlands. 

This positive image for birds need to be perpetuated, instead of seeing them as pests that damage crops as they make a home in the swamplands and nearby fields during migration, Pelayo shared.

Candaba helped spearhead Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act by creating the Ibon-Ebon festival, which showcased migratory birds that visit the Candaba swamplands and the local duck eggs industry.

The festival featured a trade fair, street dancing, and games for children and adults.

It attracted bird enthusiasts to witness and observe 60 species of migratory birds from China, Siberia, Japan and New Zealand passing through the wetlands. 

RA 9147 is an act providing for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats.

The 32,000-hectare Candaba swamp is an important wetland area where over 7,000 migratory birds from Siberia, Japan, China and New Zealand make a temporary home to shelter from the cold of their countries of origin.

The swamp serves as their feeding area from October to March.