Forging ahead on efforts to promote sustainability, PLDT group fortifies its partnership with the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), in support of indigenous communities.

The latest partnership supports the Manobo Tigwahanon indigenous community of Barangay Magkalungay in San Fernando, Bukidnon. 

The partnership project also includes the conservation and protection of the eagles and their natural habitat – the forest. 

Alongside that, PLDT and PEF commit to help Bukidnon’s indigenous women and their respective families take part in conservation efforts, through biodiversity-friendly women-based enterprises that will serve as a platform for generating supplemental income. 

Called “Beadwork for Conservation,” the biodiversity-friendly livelihood project will be championed by wives of forest guards who will make use of their artisanal skills in creating beadwork designs for profit.

“We are happy deepening our engagement with the PEF, this time helping the indigenous community in Barangay Magkalungay,” said Katherine Diaz De Rivera, PLDT Head of Community Relations.

She pointed out that this project will enable the Manobo Tigwahanon women earn to help sustain their families and showcase their exceptional skills in doing beautiful beadwork. “These are real talents that need to be recognized by the rest of the country and the world!” said Diaz De Rivera. 

Protecting the Philippine Eagle 

In celebration of Earth Day last April 22, PLDT and PEF also helped release a Philippine Eagle back into the forest, after helping nurse its injuries.

Accidentally trapped in a native snare intended for deer and wild pigs, PE Tagoyaman Fernando was rescued in Barangay Magkalungay on October 22, 2020. 

The Philippine Eagle was turned over to the PEF for proper care and treatment by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Valencia and the staff of the local government unit in Bukidnon, Malaybalay City. 

Dedicated in saving the endangered Philippine Eagle from extinction, the PEF performs direct conservation actions by hosting a facility for taking care of Philippine Eagles. It implements programs in research, community-based conservation, conservation breeding, and education.

Marking Earth Day, Tagoyaman Fernando has since been released back to his home in the ancestral forests of Barangay Magkalungay.

The PEF has engaged the indigenous community’s help as forest guards in ensuring the safety of the Philippine Eagles.

According to PEF Director for Research and Conservation Jayson C. Ibanez, PhD, “After releasing Tagoyaman Fernando, it is important to monitor and protect him from hunters who may shoot him. To ensure his safety, PEF has trained and engaged 20 Manobo Tigwahanon forest guards who will monitor Tagoyaman Fernando for the next six months as he explores his forest home.”

The forest guards will receive food and transportation allowances during each patrol. Being poor by mainstream standards, their allowances will also provide them supplemental income. 

This in turn, develops positive behavior towards the eagles among local residents. “Our long years of doing community-based conservation indicate that ensuring tangible local benefits strengthens the community’s commitment to conservation efforts,” Dr. Ibanez said. 

PLDT’s continuing partnership with the PEF is aligned with the group’s commitment to help the Philippines attain the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG #15: Life on Land.