Santiago seeks Senate probe on Pamana killing
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is urging her colleagues in the Senate to investigate the killing of Pamana, a Philippine eagle found shot dead in a protected area in Davao Oriental barely two months after it was released into the wild.
Santiago, sponsor of the treaty on the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity at the Senate, said she would file a resolution on Monday, calling for an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the death of Pamana and the risks to endangered Philippine species in protected areas.
“There is a disconnect between the fact that Pamana was killed in Mount Hamiguitan, and the fact that the mountain range is a protected site. If we cannot protect wildlife in what we dare call protected areas, what kind of protection are we providing?” the senator said in a statement on Thursday.
This is not the first time Santiago called for a Senate hearing on the killing of a Philippine eagle, which the International Union for the Conservation of Nature considers a critically endangered species, or at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
In 2013, the senator also filed a resolution, calling for an inquiry on the death of Minalwang, a Philippine eagle also shot dead months after being released into Mt. Balatukan Range in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, and another resolution in May, calling for an investigation on the impact of kaingin and other prevalent forest activities on the dwindling Philippine eagle population in the forests of Samar Island.
Santiago said the two resolutions were not acted upon by the Senate committee on the environment and natural resources to which they have been referred.
“We must, on the one hand, empower local government units to strictly guard protected areas, and, on the other, make administratively liable local officials who grossly neglect to implement laws concerning protected areas,” she said.
Santiago remains on medical leave due to stage 4 lung cancer, stage 4, but she continues to perform her functions as a senator by filing bills and resolutions. She even announced last month her intention to join the presidential race in 2016 with her cancer in check. Maila Ager/JE
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