JM TUAZON, GMA News
07/08/2011 | 01:53 PM
Some 80 species of migratory birds are in
danger of losing their sanctuary in Metro Manila to aircraft,
according to a report on GMA News' "News to Go"
Citing issues of flight safety, authorities
are planning to relocate the Parañaque-Las Pinas bird
lagoon which is located near the Ninoy Aquino International
Officials of the Manila International Airport
Authority (MIAA) said an increase in bird strikes at the airport
was recorded in the past few months.
"Pinapag-aralan muna kung posible mang
mangyari na mailipat sila (bird sanctuary), mas well and good
na malayo sa runway," said Joseph Agustin, OIC of the
Airport Ground Operations and Safety Division of the MIAA.
Agustin said the lagoon is located along
the flight path of planes at NAIA and the birds could ram
onto the planes or get sucked in engines, causing flight disruptions
and possibly, air crashes.
In May, for example, a large bird ran onto
the body of one of the Philippine Airlines' aircraft, damaging
As similar incidents had happened in the
past, the MIAA discussed the issue with local government officials.
The plan is to amend an 18-year-old ban on
breeding pigeons within five kilometers of the airport.
Instead of five kilometers, authorities suggest
raising the coverage of the ban to 13 kilometers. The wider
area will include the Parañaque-Las Pinas bird lagoon.
However, according to the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources (DENR), a mere ordinance cannot overturn
a Presidential Proclamation issued by former president Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo declaring the coastal lagoon a bird sanctuary
and eco-tourism area.
"An ordinance cannot supersede a Presidential
Proclamation, [the latter] will always prevail," said
Director Reynaldo Villafuerte of the DENR-NCR.
Villafuerte said that it is impossible that
migratory birds were responsible for the recent spate of bird
strikes in the airport, since the migration season has not
"Wala kaming ganoon kalaking ibon diyan.
The month of May is summer season, these migratory birds do
not come [during] summer. Usually, they come in the months
of September and October," he explained.
Counter to natural flight path of
Meanwhile, Mike Lu, president of the Wild
Birds Club Philippines, said the proposed reclamation runs
counter to the natural flight path of birds.
"[This sanctuary] is their flight path,
at eto yung isa sa mga stopover areas nila. The whole Manila
Bay is considered an IBA or Important Bird Area," he
Should the plan push through, Lu said the
authorities run the risk of making the public suffer the consequences.
"That means all the resident birds here
will either die or try to find some place else. [This is the]
stopover place of the birds, it means they would have to fly
further away, or they will find the next open area, which
is the airport," Lu said.
Meanwhile, aside from airport safety issues,
the same bird sanctuary is also in danger of being replaced
with a P14-billion reclamation project being pushed in the
According to a report on community news site
Allvoices.com, fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang
Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) claimed that reclamation
caused the rapid deterioration of bird population in the lagoon,
from a high of 28,000 birds four decades ago until it nosedived
to only 5,000 today.
The group had already asked the Supreme Court
to uphold its ruling on bay rehabilitation and clean-up.
“The court should instruct Malacañang
and PRA to cease and desist from pushing a destructive plan
in favor of a new business center that is triggered by the
development slogan Public-Private Partnership (PPP),"
the group stressed.
Authorities watching over the lagoon have
come up with a compromise measure, which will see an installation
of a channel and a bridge for a waterway between the proposed
reclamation and the bird sanctuary, so as not to cut the lagoon
off from Manila Bay. — VVP, GMA News