PATERNO ESMAQUEL II, GMA News
In a patch of old-growth forest in a mostly denuded area in Bislig, Surigao del Sur, the local Manobo community once rescued an endangered Philippine Eagle in 2007 and named it after their leader Datu Tinuy-an.
The rare species, whose numbers have dwindled along with the loss of the country’s forests that are their natural habitats, was turned over to local authorities and eventually, to the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City.
Instead of expressing appreciation to the indigenous Manobo, however, government officials took charge of the forest that the Manobo had been guarding against loggers and declared it a wildlife reserve. The remaining forest grove, which the Manobo consider their sacred grounds, was opened up to students and researchers that, in the community’s view, desecrated the place.
“People conveniently forgot na tribo ang nakahanap [nu’ng agila], at tribo ang nagbantay ng huling bahagi ng gubat na napaghanapan no’n,” recalled Dave De Vera, executive director of the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID).
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