‘Aliens’ invade Philippine forests, lakes

Aggressive species threaten endemic flora, fauna


In Laguna Lake, the introduction of janitor fish or knife fish is overpowering native lake fish. Authorities suspect ornamental fish owners let loose the fish in the lake.

Alien species are invading Philippine forests and lakes, threatening endemic and indigenous flora and fauna, officials said on Wednesday.

Authorities call them IAS (invasive alien species) or aggressive plants and fishery introduced from abroad which are supplanting local varieties.

One example is the Matica plant, locally known as “buyo-buyo,” a flowering shrub native to tropical South America, which has been wreaking havoc on forests and agricultural lands since its introduction in the country, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.


Dangers to wildlife


The African bull frog and the African snail also pose a danger to native wildlife, said Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) Director Mundita Lim.

In Laguna Lake, the introduction of janitor fish or knife fish is overpowering native lake fish. Authorities suspect ornamental fish owners let loose the fish in the lake.

Next to habitat destruction, IAS are considered the biggest threat to biodiversity, authorities said.

IAS are coming into areas where they do not naturally occur, posing economic or ecological harm to the natural environment. Some species have also been found to be hazardous to human health.

In the face of such threats, the DENR has launched the Philippine component of an internationally funded project on the management of IAS.


Invasion prevention project

The project is called “Removing Barriers to Invasive Species Management in the Production and Protection Forests in Southeast Asia,” and funded by the Global Environment Fund through the United Nations Environmental Programme.

The DENR’s PAWB is the agency tasked to implement the region-wide project that also has components in Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Funding for the whole program is $6.8 million, but the Philippine component will be allotted $375,937.

Lim said the project would focus on the prevention, control or eradication of invasive weeds, including the Matica plant, which has been blamed for the degradation of natural forests in Southeast Asia.

“Buyo-buyo is a shrub known to be highly aggressive,” according to the DENR.

“It has been linked not only to the degradation of natural forests but also to the suppression of natural regeneration of forests in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In fact, it was found to have already colonized vacant agricultural areas, and in gaps within natural forests in the Allah Valley Watershed Forest Reserve,” it said.

The pilot demonstration area for the Philippines will be in the Allah Valley Watershed Forest Reserve in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Lim said.

She said the first part of the project would center on building capacities and forging partnerships with local communities in managing buyo-buyo with techniques in weed management, appropriate biological control and habitat restoration.

The country’s numerous porous ports have made it difficult to prevent the introduction of such species. In December 2011, five people were arrested after they were caught bringing in dozens of banned, carnivorous piranha fish.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WIWYLFLU4LPKS7B2ZLLRVFKS3Y vir_a

    Just like those janitor fish in Laguna Lake. Mga pinoy lang rin ang sumisira sa environment natin.

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      Lam ko na solution. ‘Custodial technician fish’

      O di kaya ‘Custodial Technician Supervisor Fish’ na mag ccontrol ng mga ito.



  • Rovingmoron

    Why can’t the airport authorities tighten its inspection on agricultural products and wild life species coming into the country?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/74DX67S5U6H557SPUXS5XZ6QJI Alisto Juan

    Hoy PAWB, gising, magaling ka lang sa press release pero natutulog sa pansitan. . Dito sa Caraga, marami ng IAS, sa Agusan marsh meron Janitor fish invasion, sa Lake Mainit, meron ng Panggasius fish. . . Ang DENR dito ay walang ginawang mitigating measures. .  Hay Naku. . 

    • Immortal

      Ang Panggasius ata pwede kainin kasi family sya ng catfish but still it is invasive species. 

  • gisingpinoy12

    Launch cooking demo of how to cook janitor fish…tiyak ubos mga yan, di palang alam lutuin ng mga ibang pinoy yan except yung mga lasenggo malapit sa Marikina river. Janitor fish …yan ang pet project ni BF noon. LOL

    • WeAry_Bat

       so also with knife fish, considered as a delicacy pala…pinoys should wipe them out in a frenzy of eating.

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      While waiting for biz at the Marikina River banks, I was able to meet some fisher folks there. Conversation went to which kinds of fish they are able to spear (using an improvised CO2 airgun) and the conversation went to Janitor fish in particular. They said that there isn’t much meat, and sometimes it makes them dizzy. Probably some kind of toxins but I dunno.

      There was a local government project then to get rid of the infestation. About 50 pesos to a sack of Janitor fish, which was ground and made into fertilizer.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NY6TKI3I2DEXZKEAIL32GF32YI GERALDINE

    According to Dr. Jonathan Armbruster, curator of fishes at Auburn University, janitor fish are edible if they don’t contain high levels of mercury or other metals. Though they’re not sold as a food fish, people in the areas of South America where they are native gut, grill them whole and eat them or use them in soup. In areas without refrigeration, janitor catfish can be kept alive for up to 30 hours by moistening them, making them a good source of fresh food. Many fisherman use grilled janitor fish as an appetizer with their drinks

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Abdul-Rashid/100004367910013 Abdul Rashid

       That’s it, a way to eradicate them would be to start eating them. Why the Bakbak(edible frog) is eradicated because Filipinos eat them. Some even use this frogs to fatten crabs. A way of reducing population is to find a way of using them. Janitor fish was planned for fish meal. They should also develop the way of producing cohol (golden apple shell) as a source of protein in feeds for poultry and swine. Not just putting them at the side of the road to get even with its destructive capacity.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/P4PIU2AIGVXJNQ4UBH5X64MSFE mr

        Tama ka pwede hulihin at gilingin mga yan para source ng protein for animal feeds or fertilizer sa mga halaman.

  • ricrdrgz

    If you want the majority of people to help you eradicate or minimizing the destruction of what you call “buyo buyo”, and other destructive IAS, i suggest that DENR should publish pictures of each IAS for the awareness of all people specially living in the affected areas. Actually, this is not the first time i heard these issues but it is always written in the news without pictures.  How can other or majority of the  people participate in this drive if they do not recognize these IAS?  

    I also suggest that these pictures should also be posted in the arrival as well as departure areas of the international airports so that not only the inspectors from the Bureau of Fisheries and Plant Industry are properly guided but also to warn and discourage the prospective importers of these IAS.

    • buttones

      Good idea, and posted at every ferry terminal and bus station also- The scientific name would help as well….

  • virgoyap

    When I was a child our place was populated with our native frogs we called bak-bak which is edible but after some decade of introducing bullfrogs which we usually called “American frog” and which is poisonous, our native frog became extinct and nowhere to be found. A very sad alternative.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/P4PIU2AIGVXJNQ4UBH5X64MSFE mr

      Pati nga mga artista natin wala na ring native, puro mga hybrid o half-breed na ng ibang lahi, basta maputi o mukhang intsik, pwede nang artista.

      • http://Yahoo.com/ Ragdeleafar

        Don’t worry pag naging president and maliit maitim maligno dadami ang lahi nya ma neutralize ang mga maputi!

      • Beware chinese eat humans.

        pansin ko rin yan…ampapangit na ng mga artista ngayon…di na umaangat ang hitsura…substandard na… tapos pag gumiling natural na sa kanila ang parang nanggaling sa kabaret…proud pa sila niyan ah.

  • arao_liwanag

    The mining company is worse than the alien your talking about, and so is the logging both legal and illegal. But the WORST is Aquino who continue to allow the alien mining firms to wreck havoc in our land everywhere, especially his cahoots the Chinese Corporations. The denude the forest poisoned the soil, wrecked the environment and and irreparably destroy the nature (kalikasan).

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/P4PIU2AIGVXJNQ4UBH5X64MSFE mr

      SI Manny Pangilinan pasimuno nyan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/simoun.magaalahas.10 Simoun Magaalahas

    kailan naman kaya mag proprojet ang gobyerno para mapuksa ang mga alien chinese at mga kano na bumababaoy sa integridad ng bansa natin, karamihan sa mga instik dito na nasa bansa natin  ay salot sa lipunan pati mga kano na bumababoy sa mga kababaihan sa atin dito sa bansa, Pinoy gising na huwag tutulog tulog….

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/P4PIU2AIGVXJNQ4UBH5X64MSFE mr

      Isama mo na rin mga NPA at Abu Sayyaf saka mga corrupt na politiko, at mga kriminal sa mga pupuksain, at yung mga baklang paring katokliko na rin.

  • i_am_filipino


  • deadlyshooter

    sad story yet, it must be an awakening one…time to wake up…have a strict monitoring for these harmful species at every portals of our country and imprisoned those people caught bringing them inside our country…right and good motivation to look for means how to make these bad infestations into an advantage to our agricultural needs…there must be positive outlook to these growing problems by diverting them into possible good use…

  • milespacker

    Learn from Australia and how strict they are re: quarantine of alien flora and fauna. They even inspect the dirt under your shoe – even the lowly “polvoron” is a victim.

    Pero mahirap i-train ang mangmang.

    • Beware chinese eat humans.

      mang mang, mayayabang at manggagantso…

  • iping2sison

    The government should tighten the importations of all kinds of plants and animals. The customs and quarantine agencies should be provided with more personnel and equipment in examining the unaccompanied baggage of all entering the PH. 

  • freedom of navigation

    Madali lang yang problema sa buyo buyo na yan.. IPAANI LANG SA MGA TAO TAPOS BILHIN NG DENR ng POR KILO magkakahanapbuhay pa.Mas importanteng talakayin dapat ang illlegal logging, ang mga tinutuklap na corals, ang tungkol sa mining, ang mga hakbang na ginagawa iparating sa mamamayan. Who knows baka ang tulong ng mamamayan ang sulosyon sa mga problema tungkol diyan.

  • Komen To

    The real aliens in our forests are the illegal loggers from planet Mars who until now, the government cannot identify and therefore can’t catch. Is this another scheme to divert the focus of the people? Is the reporter serious in reporting this item? several people die because of illegal logging, in case you forget

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5STEU22AD7YRHQSB6RE56ZDSYA J

    Matagal na yan. Sa Cordillera napunu na ng pine trees na dala ng mga kastila. Talo ang local trees sa pagdami nito kasi kahit sa batuhan tutubo. 

    Ang mahogany tree HINDI rin orig dito. Ngayon turing na peste ng mga local na punung kahoy dahil sa bilis nilang dumami. Kapag summer bubumuka ang bunga ililipad ng mga hangin ang daang-daang buto nito na parang may elisi ng helicopter na umaabot sa malalayung lugar. Pagdating tagulan akala mo mushroom sa dami ang tutubo. 

    Nawala na ang mga lokal na kahoy natin dahil talo sila sa mahogany na itinanim ng DENR-Forestry noong panahon ni Macoy.

    Ang lokal na punu na hindi kaya alisin ng pine o mahogany e si Rico Punu ng DILG.

    • Beware chinese eat humans.

      daming kamalasan talaga ang idinulot ng administrasyon ni macoy…tingnan mo na lang ang airport…

  • chachards

  • zombie77

    Dapat lang iniinspekyon ang lahat ng bagahe ng mga turista at ibang pumapasok sa ating bansa. Malay natin……….sila mismong mga taga-ibang bansa yung may gustong isabotahe
     ang ekonomiya ng Pilipinas. Kaya dapat magtulugan ang Bureau of Immigration, DENR,DA, at ibat -bang agensya ng gobyerno para maprotektahan natin ang ating mga kagubatan, ang mga rivers, lakes, bukid, atbp. parte ng ating bansa. Para din ito sa mga susunod na generasyon ng ating bansa.

    • Beware chinese eat humans.

      mismo kagaya ng mga chinese…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4XVVCOAZXYTPN2X3IPFCFDSKFM Melvin

    Sa US naman ay pinoproblema nila ang ating isdang dalag. Akalain nyo bang ang species ng dalag na kung tawagin ay snakehead fish sa Commonwealth of Virginia ay siyang pinagbibintangan dahilan ng pagkaubos ng Potomac River shad, bass and even frogs. At pinagsabihan ang kanilang mga mangingisda na kapag ito ay nahuli ay kanilang patayin…

  • $14170612

    may isang specie sa malakanyang maliit at maitim parang maligno daw kelangan mapuksa din ito baka lalo itong dadami saka yung pinakamtandang buwaya sa senado na namudmud ng pera puksain din yun

  • AllinLawisFair

    The Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should see to it that those aliens do not introduce alien species of fish in inland waters such as lakes and rivers. Better yet, the DENR should not allow those foreigners to operate fish cage business operations in our lakes and rivers.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GRVAJUYIO6PRIAPQHNE6MYKNEQ Lando

    ancient aliens ?

  • go88

    I know another very invasive specy … the yellow ipis commonly named chink, poses a far greater danger to us filipinos and our wildlife  than the african bull frog or african snail …

  • akimaxx

    African snail is a food delicacy in Nigeria. I don’t know if it’s the same specie with the one we have. 
    Cleaning and preparing them before cooking are bit complicated but once cooked can command a high price. It’s like Filipino’s  pride of eating balut, to them it’s the African snail. Don’t jump into conclusion, investigate if it’s edible. If it is, then we solved problem #1.

  • zeroko

    He he he. The worst alien that invaded our forest and habitat of indigenous tribes are the Chinese investors on mining. Some in fact are illegal miners in the sense that they hide under the local people, but actually is financing the operation. Dapat, lagay sa concentration camp itong mga illegal Chinese miners. Last year, even illegal miners, those that extract the minerals, were caught working without any permit. They pretend to come here as tourist, then they are brought  to the mining site to do the mining themselves. 

    Basta big time scum and cheating, expect that there are Chinese behind it. Take the case of Chinese chemist who formulate the Shabu illegal drugs. He he he. The Mainland Chinese and the Taiwanese work hand in hand making these drugs. Ang laki pala ng profit sa illegal drugs. One beautician in our place spend all his income on the Shabu, about P27,000. in just one month. That was during the last Christmas season. Now, he heh. Wala na. The business is not so profitable, few clients, and he just settle for Red Label to kill his urge on the illegal drug.

    • Komen To

      And why is the government controlling or stoping these Tsek-ins? Ang lagay ba naman, eh

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