Atienza: Organize activities
to better appreciate our natural heritage
Publishing date: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008 (3:26 PM)
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary
Lito Atienza today encouraged educators and civic leaders
to take the lead in undertaking bird watching and other similar
activities to enable the present and succeeding generations
of Filipinos to better appreciate our natural heritage.
"We must inculcate to every Filipino an appreciation
of the environment and nature because each of us must be involved
responsible for safeguarding our natural blessings,"
Atienza made the statement during a visit of schoolchildren
from Candaba town at the DENR office. The schoolchildren,
led by their town mayor Jerry Pelayo, made a public appeal
not to shoot, or harm in any manner, both endemic and migratory
The townspeople of Candaba have been visited annually, for
ages, this time of the year by tens of thousands of birds
species which fly to the country at the onset of winter in
Asia and North America to escape the bitter cold months in
their natural habitat, like Siberia.
In their meeting, Atienza and Pelayo agreed to improve and introduce
facilities, such as strategically-located viewing decks in areas
where the birds converge to ensure that visitors and tourists will
have an educational, comfortable and fruitful visit.
Atienza reiterated his warning that killing, collecting or
inflicting injury to wildlife, including bird species is unlawful,
with violators facing imprisonment and payment of fines.
The warning came after reports that some groups and individuals are
actively engaged in hunting down birds -- some of which have been
classified as vulnerable or threatened -- as a hobby or as a
Pelayo said the attitude of bird hunters is in sharp contrast to
many of his Pampanga provincemates who are now even protective of
the birds. "Vendors who selling snipes (a migratory bird) which used
to proliferate along the Olongapo-Gapan road are now a rare sight,"
The town executive added that Kapampangan specialty restaurants
known for their exotic menu have stopped offering delicacies such as
adobong snipes and wild duck and other Philippine wildlife.
Referring to Pelayo as a warrior for wildlife conservation,
Atienza said the Candaba town mayor's commitment to preserve
the country's natural heritage should be exulted by the country's
"We must all work for the protection of our natural wealth,"
Atienza said as he announced that the hunters whose pictures
were posted on the web carrying lifeless Philippine ducks
will be called to "answer questions about their activities."
Atienza earlier directed the DENR legal division to study
the filing of charges against the bird hunters.
The penalty for killing or destroying vulnerable wildlife
species is imprisonment of two years and one day to four years
and/or a fine of P30,000 to P300,000.