25 Sep 2011
Posted by Negros Chronicle
by: JUANCHO RODRIGUEZ
A foreign diplomat, and scores of local and foreign tourists, are in Dumaguete and Negros Oriental today just to participate in a bird festival and support efforts to preserve the country’s wild birds and wild animals for that matter.
Netherlands Ambassador & WBCP
member Robert Brinks being interviewed by media
Dutch Ambassador to the Philippines Robert Brinks, an avid bird watcher, stressed the importance of maintaining and preserving Philippine forests in devoting them as bird sanctuaries.
Meanwhile, awareness and enthusiasm are high as the 7th Philippine Bird Festival unfolded today with bird watchers from around the world with elementary and high school students at the Silliman University amphitheater grounds.
Sponsored by the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, festival chairperson Mike Lu said that 6,000 participants are expected during lectures, fun games, and in the conservation forum that will discuss issues on biodiversity, among others.
Present during the opening program included 1,500 students from different schools in the province, three clubs from Taiwan, one each from Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore Dutch Ambas sador Brinks said that there’s a lot of enjoyment in bird watching– you’re in close contact with nature, can breathe fresh air and will be able to see new things whether feathered or mammals.
He said that in the West, mankind have departed so much from nature and that their kids don’t know what is nature anymore, unlike in the Philippines where it is still surrounded with a lot of trees.
The Dutch ambassador further said that it is a luxury of watching birds in the Philippines because they’re everywhere, with about 600 species of them are in the country and more than 200 are endemic, while Europe can speak only of a few, that is why national and foreign tourists and bird watchers come here and enjoy.
Brinks said that it was good that the organizers targeted the kids in the awareness campaign because parents will listen more to their kids than to the officials, and they will also educate their parents.
“We need this biodiversity, otherwise, we’re dead,” Dutch Amb. Brinks pointed out.
In his welcome remarks, Gov. Roel Degamo said that birds are actually our natural planters of trees in the forests; they keep down the population of pests; and they pollinate.
Degamo stressed that even before the festival, part of his programs for the environment is to reforest balding forests in the province by creating the pocket forest program.
This will ensure and preserve the natural habitat of birds and other wild animals because under the program, all the 557 barangays in the province will be provided with funds to maintain the trees in their respective areas funding allocation, of which, however, is still pending.
On the other hand, Wild Bird Club president Anna Gonzales believes there’s a lot to be done on the enforcement side, saying it is best to educate the law enforcers first about the importance of wild birds and wild life.
She challenged local government units to know, love and protect the wild life.jg