Foreign hunters kill endangered birds in the Philippines

This video is about the Philippine eagle.

From Wildlife Extra:

Endangered Bird Hunting in the Philippines

WWF advocates rule of law in dealing with RP game hunting

By Gregg Yan

Worldwide, more than 130 bird species, from the flightless Dodo of Mauritius to the gargantuan Elephant Bird of Madagascar, have become extinct or been killed off since the 16th century. Of 10,000 surviving species, 10 percent are threatened with extinction, and the Philippines are no exception: the Luzon Sarus Crane, Ticao Tarictic Hornbill and numerous others have not been seen in generations.

Endemic to the country, Philippine Mallards (Anas luzonica) frequent rich wetlands, feeding on small fish, shrimps, insects and vegetation. Less than 10,000 remain due to incessant hunting, prompting the IUCN to classify them globally as vulnerable.

Remarkably rich in birdlife, the Philippines still has more than 600 species of resident and migratory birds, of which about 190 are endemic. Habitat loss, hunting and incursions by introduced species such have drastically reduced populations.

More than 200 Philippine birds are included in the World Conservation Union‘s red list of critically-endangered species, including the Philippine Cockatoo, the Negros Fruit-Dove and our national bird, the Philippine Eagle, considered by some experts as the largest eagle on earth.

Birds play a vital role in the environment, especially of the forests, by eating fruits and dispersing the seeds over wide tracts of land. Similarly, some nectar-feeders such as the Philippine Olive-backed Sunbird are important pollinators. Seabirds improve the ecology of small islands by producing large amounts of guano which enriches island soil – allowing less adaptable plants to root.

Bird Hunting Holidays

Thus the recent spate of web adverts for bird hunting in the Philippines comes as a great shock to conservation institutes, including the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP), a group which has collated data on resident and migratory birds since 2003.

WWF strongly espouses the rule of law in dealing with these hunters, under the context of protecting natural resources.

WWF Project Manager Yeb Sano said ‘The spirit upon which our environmental regulations were crafted reflects the critical status of our natural resources, dwindling as they are and on the verge of irreversible collapse, compromising its ability to fend for future and even this generation. Birds and all wildlife have important roles to play in the circle of life and decimating their populations would threaten the viability of all ecosystems.’

‘The recent exposure of groups hunting threatened species illustrates the huge chasm between policies and their implementation, as well as the great need to educate our people on crucial imperatives to protect our environment. In a democracy built on ideals of freedom symbolized by an unshackled bird, it is ironic that gun-toting groups have been able to hunt down threatened birds – deliberately violating national law.’ Some of the photos show carcasses of the Philippine Mallard (Anas luzonica). With less than 10,000 left alive, the species is listed as vulnerable under the DENR and IUCN.

The penalty for killing vulnerable wildlife in the Philippines is imprisonment of two to four years and / or a fine of P30,000 – P300,000 ($750 – $7500). The law further states that unless otherwise allowed in accordance with the Act: it shall be unlawful for any person to wilfully and knowingly exploit wildlife resources and their habitats: collecting, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products and derivatives. Mere possession of these species, evidenced by trophy pictures posted on websites, is already punishable by law.

WWF duly respects all groups – including recreational shooting teams. However, environmental laws must be respected and wholly applied to protect what remains of our natural wealth.

It’s Philippine Eagle Week and it is an opportune time to know about our national bird which, incidentally is also the largest and most endangered eagle in the world. The Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi is endemic or unique to our country and can only be found in Sierra Madre in Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao: here.

On the edge of extinction, Philippine eagles being picked off one-by-one: here.

ScienceDaily (Oct. 20, 2010) — Recent work by Dr. David Lohman, assistant professor of biology at The City College of New York, suggests that the Philippines, considered by biologists to be a “biodiversity hotspot,” could have more unique species of birds than previously thought. If that proves to be the case, it could have important ramifications for conservation practices there: here.

20 thoughts on “Foreign hunters kill endangered birds in the Philippines


    Sulu ‘massacre’ survivor claims seeing US soldiers

    By Julie Alipala
    Mindanao Bureau

    First Posted 17:47:00 02/07/2008

    ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — American troops joined Monday’s assault on a village in Maimbung town, Sulu, in which eight people, including two children and a pregnant woman, were killed, a survivor claimed.

    Sandrawina Wahid said she saw four US soldiers when elite forces from Navy and the Army stormed Barangay (village) Ipil early Monday.

    Wahid said among those killed by the government troops was her husband, Private First Class Ibnol Wahid, who was shot even after he identified himself as a soldier on vacation with his family.

    Wahid said prior to the incident, which residents are calling a massacre, the soldiers burned down houses, including hers, and rounded up villagers.

    “I was brought inside the Navy boat and I saw the US personnel,” she said.
    Wahid said one of the Filipino soldiers blindfolded her.

    “I asked him what the blindfold was for and he said so I will not see what’s going to happen,” she told reporters in Sulu on Tuesday.

    But Major General Nelson Allaga, chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), branded Wahid’s claim preposterous.

    “There was no direct involvement of the Americans [during the operation]. It is strictly prohibited,” Allaga said.

    However, Sulu Representative Yusop Jikiri said the Maimbung incident is not the first in which US forces allegedly taking part in operations against suspected terrorists has been reported.
    Jikiri, who called for an investigation, said during operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, US forces were also accused of direct involvement.

    Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of that among the units involved in the Maimbung operation was the Army’s Light Reaction Company (LRC) and the Navy’s Special Warfare Group (Swag).

    The LRC is composed of Filipino soldiers who received special training from US forces during the Balikatan joint military exercises.

    Tan said soldiers indiscriminately fired at the residents and killed the eight victims.
    “I was informed that several residents were also taken from their houses and brought inside a Philippine Navy boat before gunfire was heard,” he said.

    But Allaga stood pat on the military’s claim that an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf took place in the village.

    “The commanders on the ground maintain that the encounter in Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu was a legitimate encounter with the [Abu Sayyaf] terror group. In fact the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] suffered casualties,” he said in a statement distributed to reporters here on Wednesday.

    “The AFP adheres at all times to the rules of engagement, which is not to put any unarmed civilians in danger during fire fights and encounters,” he said.

    But Tan, citing the result of his investigation, said the death of the two soldiers was due to “friendly fire” between the two units.

    He said the information he got showed the Swag and LRC troops mistook each other for hostile groups and exchanged fire.

    Copyright 2008 Mindanao Bureau. All rights reserved.


  2. From the California Academy of Sciences:

    Reopening in Golden Gate Park 9.27.08 | 415-379-8000

    Philippine Coral Reef is Coming Alive

    It’s official – the new Academy is now home to living animals. Last month, the first corals were affixed to the various niches and rock ledges inside the 212,000-gallon Philippine Coral Reef tank. Swimming among them are 57 fish, which will feed on and help control the growth of algae in the tank. Over the next seven months, thousands more coral colonies and fish will join them.

    The Academy chose to feature a Philippine coral reef because the reef systems in the Philippines are among the most diverse in the world. All of the animals will be captive-bred or come from sustainable sources, highlighting the importance of in-country research and conservation programs. Read more about the recent move here.

    The Academy would like to thank The Octopus’s Garden in Berkeley for their recent donation of eight species of reef fish.


    Published on Bulatlat (
    Play of Words Do Not Make the Rice Crisis Go Away

    The Arroyo government is again playing with words, as if it would make the rice crisis (which has now reached the level of a food crisis) go away. It claims there is no rice crisis but admits to a rice price crisis. There may be no real shortage yet but sharp increases in the price of rice make it inaccessible to the poor and lower segments of the middle class. This is the face of the crisis today.

    Vol. VIII, No. 10, April 20-26, 2008

    The Arroyo government is again playing with words, as if it would make the rice crisis (which has now reached the level of a food crisis) go away. Every time the topic of the current rice crisis is being discussed Agriculture Sec. Arturo Yap and the spokespersons of Malacanang are quick to “clarify” that there is no rice crisis but a rice price crisis. They also keep on harping about the adequate supply of rice in the country, citing that we have more than enough to last us up to the first quarter of next year. Malacanang also said that the Philippines is in the best position to cope with the rice price crisis and that the country would not experience food riots, as what happened in Haiti and other underdeveloped countries, because of adequate supply. The Arroyo government is blaming rice traders and hoarders for the rice price increases.

    Rice traders, on the other hand, are blaming the government for causing panic among consumers, which, they said, is the reason for the rice price increases.

    Gauging by the continuously increasing lines for NFA rice, there really is a rice crisis. It may be quite different from what the country experienced in the 1970s but it is a crisis nonetheless. In the 1970s there was a shortage and we had to mix corn with rice. The Marcos dictatorship launched a program called Masagana 99, introducing high yielding varieties of rice, to prevent the recurrence of the shortage.

    Currently, there is no real shortage yet but sharp increases in the price of rice make it inaccessible to the poor and lower segments of the middle class. Unaffordable rice (and basic foods) is the face of the crisis today. In fact, traders and retailers of rice are even complaining that they could not sell their rice except at a very low profit margin or sometimes even at cost.

    Hunger amid a situation of adequate supply is the cruel paradox of the day. It is, perhaps, what caused the food riots and looting in other countries. It is easier for people to tighten their belts, literally and figuratively, if they see that there really is a shortage. But to see that rice and other foods are available in the market and yet people go hungry because they could not afford it makes people more desperate and angry,

    Who is to blame?

    The price spikes in rice and other foods are happening globally, especially after the decision of major rice exporting countries such as Vietnam and Thailand to limit their exports for fear of a global rice supply shortage due to the shifts in agricultural production in a lot of countries from producing food i.e. rice and wheat to biofuel. Nevertheless the government is still responsible for making the Filipino people vulnerable to demand and supply shocks, as well as the callous machinations of speculators, in the international market.


    First, its definition of and policy with regards food security is inherently flawed. It narrowly defines food security in terms of supply. Thus, according to the 2006 primer of the Philippine Rice Research Institute, “a nation could be secure although households particularly those with low income have nothing to eat.” No wonder the Arroyo government does not see the current rice crisis that is already staring it in the face.

    Second, the government does not see the need to improve and increase rice production in the country- until the rice crisis imploded – as it deemed the international market as more “stable”. Even when the rice crisis was already intensifying Pres. Arroyo still declared that there is no problem where the country gets its supply of rice for as long as it is able to get it. This is exactly the policy that made the country vulnerable to price spikes in the international market.

    Third, with the government’s economic orientation and programs, it is not surprising that the rice and food crisis would implode sooner or later. Its emphasis on exports rewards the shift of agricultural production from food to cash crops. Added to this, its thrust of enticing foreign companies and investors to set-up subsidiaries in the country and to invest in real estate development caused the massive conversion of land from agricultural to other uses. Complementing this are the numerous loopholes in the government’s agrarian reform program causing its failure. The government’s thrusts and the failure of the agrarian reform program facilitate the process of land use conversion and make the reconcentration of land – in the form of taking back Certificates of Land Ownership Agreements and reclassifying land previously awarded to farmers – profitable.

    Fourth, the Arroyo government’s refusal to implement any substantial policy that would mitigate the effects of the crisis such as price controls and the removal of the 12 percent Expanded Value Added Tax on basic commodities show its total disregard for the people’s welfare.

    It may be true that the Filipino people are not wont to resort to food riots and lootings. But the Arroyo government could not take comfort in that. The crisis is real and it concerns a gut issue: food. The only factor that prevents the Filipino people from resorting to random, desperate acts of anger and forcibly taking what they need is that we are experienced in collective action that has a clear goal: the removal of anti-people, corrupt presidents who worsen the people’s misery and sufferings. And that should serve as a warning to the Arroyo government. Bulatlat

    Source URL:


    April 29, 2008
    Series of 2008

    The higher the level of corruption in a country, the greater the destruction of the environment.

    Environment: A major source of corruption

    The higher the level of corruption in a country, the greater the destruction of the environment; likewise, the lower the level of environmental sustainability. This correlation comes not from an NGO or an anti-corruption watchdog but from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Davos annual meeting of political and corporate leaders from all over the world.

    The linkage between environment and corruption is ringing alarm bells not only in the WEF but in other multilateral organizations as well. This may not necessarily out of their concern for the environment, however, but because the funds granted many developing countries including the Philippines to combat corruption have yielded no promising results, worse, are embezzled through corruption itself.

    There is another correlation: Developing countries that are highly dependent on extractive industries, such as mining, logging, and the export of resources, show the highest levels of corruption. The WEF, along with Transparency International (TI), Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC), and other institutions see the Philippines as the second most corrupt country in the world and the first in Asia today.

    Previously ranked as one of a few countries with the most diverse ecosystems, the Philippines is now facing an environment crisis. Only 17 percent of its forest cover is left and 50 of its 421 major river systems are biologically dead. Mining and other extractive industries threaten farm life, coastal and marine resources, access to water, and spawn epidemics and pollution of all types. Foreign mining firms have, since the 1970s, plundered as much as $30 billion worth of mineral resources from the Philippines. Moreover, some $2 billion is lost to environmental degradation every year.

    The environment sector is a major source of corruption as well as political patronage. The plunder of natural wealth has been the material base of oligarchic politics that promotes and practices corruption. It is where the most coveted resources are, and it is where the money is. The mineral wealth alone that remains untapped is worth $840 billion; the first phase of the Arroyo administration’s minerals policy was expected to generate $10 billion in investments.

    Teeming with corruption

    The large-scale exploitation and extraction of the country’s natural wealth especially timber and mineral resources teems with corruption involving bureaucrats, powerful politicians and their cronies, on the one hand, and transnational corporations and their local partners, on the other. The maze and levels of corruption begin with the TNCs themselves – in their ¬countries business gives legitimacy to bribery.

    In the United States, for instance, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) does not prohibit bribing foreign officials through facilitating or expediting payment “the purpose of which is to expedite or secure the performance of a routine governmental action.” On the other hand, the OECD’s 1997 Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (“OECD Convention”) makes acceptable “grease payments,” “speed money,” “facilitating payments,” or “expediting payments” that are made to ensure the timely delivery of goods and services, such as permits and licenses.

    In Canada, the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act makes even more explicit about “grease” payments as legal if these are made to expedite or secure the performance by a foreign public official of any routine act that is part of the foreign public official’s duties or functions, including the issuance of a permit, license, visas, and work permits.

    As a result, foreign firms including mining TNCs offer bribes and allot revenues for grease money sometimes bigger than the normal 22 percent that Filipino business firms normally earmark to get government projects approved. Many TNCs whose mining operations have been banned or restricted in other countries because of pollution are willing to shell out bribe money in the Philippines allowing them to invest in mining exploration, extraction, and exportation while evading tight environment evaluation, monitoring, or even litigation. Awash with trillions of dollars in surplus capital, China’s corporations including ZTE-NBN are willing to offer as much as one-third of their investment capital to corner mining, telecommunications, road development and other major projects. These projects damage the environment, demolish communities, and make the people bear more tax burdens to compensate for losses in enterprises that do not benefit them at all.

    The profit objectives of business in extracting billions worth of environment resources are facilitated through the enactment of laws and onerous treaties, the issuance of policies, transactions, permits, designation of areas for operation, sham environment assessments, and other papers. This bureaucratic and policy-making process involves all layers of government including the chief executive, Congress, and even members of the judiciary.

    Legal mechanisms

    Thus legal mechanisms are used to legitimize and process the plunder of natural resources. But it is the invisible hand of corruption wielded by the powers-that-be which makes this development aggression more expeditious. It is this same hand that protects profitable ventures, beneficiaries of corruption, and the wanton destruction of the environment at the expense of communities, their livelihood and property, and their future. Corruption makes environment laws unenforceable and violators to get away with their crimes. It also makes accountability toothless.

    A case in point: When the Supreme Court ruled in December 2004 that the Mining Act was unconstitutional, the bureaucracy’s top honchos flexed their muscle to support the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines’ and the TNCs’ lobby to have the ruling reversed. Millions of dollars were reportedly spent for this campaign. In less than a month, the high court did an about face. A jubilant House Speaker Jose de Venecia boasted before international mining investors in London in June 2005: “We mounted a strong campaign to get the Supreme Court to reverse itself. It was a difficult task to get 15 proud men and women of the Supreme Court to reverse themselves. But we succeeded.”
    Corruption is the secret agency that makes environmental destruction possible topped by civilian deaths, epidemics, and calamities. It has led to the depletion of the country’s natural resources ranging from deforestation, slope destabilization, soil erosion, desertification, water resource degradation, defertilization, crop damages, siltation, alteration of terrain and sea-bottom topography, increased water turbidity and air pollution. It continues to threaten the country’s food security.
    Given the current propensity to reward corrupt officials while whistleblowers along with anti-corruption watchdogs are intimidated, corruption in the environment sector is here to stay and is sure to worsen. Horrifying will be day when the whole country degrades into a desert and the only life remaining is the social cockroaches – the corrupt oligarchs and crony capitalists.

    Corruption breeds in a government dominated by oligarchs who craft development policies motivated by private gain and corporate greed. And yet environment constitutes public wealth and it is just for the people to make an assertion of this basic principle. In the short term, pending legislative bills that uphold transparency in government transactions such as the right to public information should be supported. Independent and impartial investigations of corruption cases and environmental plunder should take their course. In the long term, the campaign for environment conservation and the defense of patrimony should be linked to the overall struggle for land, against corruption, and toward democratic governance.


    Bobby Tuazon
    Director, Policy Study, Publication and Advocacy (PSPA)
    Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)
    TelFax +63-2 9299526; mobile phone: 0915-6418055



    by Roman Deckert

    (Corrected translation from the article “Heckler & Koch: G36 auf den Philippinen”, published in the newsletter of the “German Action Network to Stop Small Arms” (DAKS) on April 30th, 2008)

    Philippine democracy has been plagued by violent conflicts ever since the end of Fernando Marcos’ dictatorship in 1986. Worst hit is the Southwest of the archipelagic nation where government troops fight against Muslim separatists and Communist rebels. All sides are blamed for gross violations of human rights. Amnesty International has documented an
    appalling number of extrajudicial killings, mainly of leftwing activists, by “security forces”.

    Special units of the army and the police now increase their fire power with modern G36 assault-rifles from the gun maker Heckler & Koch (H&K), as shown on photographs of parades and training exercises (see: z138/lancero33/julho/ dcf384.jpg).

    The Philippines have been a traditional customer of the German company which is based in Oberndorf, an idyllic town near the Black Forest. The highly respected information service “Jane’s Infantry Weapons” has found that the G3, the predecessor of the G36, is still one of the standard weapons of the Philippine army, along with the American M16 and the
    Israeli Galil. The origin of those G3 is unknown, but a limited number may have been manufactured in the Philippines itself.

    According to Jürgen Grässlin, the chairman of the German “Armaments Information Office” (RIB) in Freiburg, it is “undisputed” amongst experts that Marcos’ regime received a licence for the production of G3-rifles, but very little is known about the details of the deal. A document of the US-embassy from 1974 suggests that the administration in Washington succeeded in promoting the production of the M16 by gun maker Colt against the German competitors from Heckler & Koch.
    Furthermore, the Philippine government forces purchased H&K MP5 submachine guns from various sources. Amnesty International has reported that the “Pakistan Ordnance Factories” in 1999 announced deliveries from its own licenceproduction to the Philippines. A meticulous article by the “Manila Standard” gives evidence on the purchase of MP5 from
    English production. Heckler & Koch has been using this roundabout way systematically in order to evade German export restrictions (see “Germany’s Unseen Hand in Kenya Crisis” –

    Due to corrupt elements within the Philippine army and police many of those arms have ended up in the black market. An investigative report of the “Manila Standard” from March 2007 addresses this worsening problem by highlighting the smuggling of MP5 from the depots of the “Metro Manila’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team” to Taiwan. According to the Geneva based think-tank “Small Arms Survey” the Philippine government itself has estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of illegal guns in the country.

    Despite these alarming facts Germany has repeatedly issued licences for the export of small arms to the Philippines during recent years. The official reports by the German government show that it approved of the sale of handguns with a total value of DM 260.000 in 1999 and of equipment for shooting exercises in 2002 to the Republika ng Pilipinas. Between 2004 and 2006 it gave green light for the export of 61 rifles, apparently G36, and 67 submachine guns, possibly the MP5- successor MP7. They may have been but sample weapons for testing purposes. With regard to the many G36 on public display (see link above) it is likely that the Philippines acquired larger numbers from its former colonial power Spain, for which the government in Manila is the closest ally in Southeastern Asia. Heckler & Koch produces the G36 not only in Oberndorf, but also in cooperation with the ordnance factory “General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas” in La Coruña.

    At the same time, neighbouring nations equip themselves with current H&K models too. Special units in Singapore and Thailand use the G36 as well as SWAT-teams in Malaysia and Indonesia which also rely on the brand new HK416. Since much of the region had been armed with G3 and the G3-derivative HK33 during the Cold War ( articles/kleinwaffen-nl11-07eng.htm), the proliferation now seems to continue with the “state of the art” Heckler guns. It has to be feared that the “elite” troops are just acting as the vanguard of this big business and that soon regular soldiers will be “upgraded” in the same fashion.

    The German government supports those countries in their battle against terror, especially since the German family Wallert was kidnapped from their Malaysian holiday resort to the Philippine Jolo Island by the Islamist Abu-Sayyaf-rebels in 2000. However, with respect to the alarming state of human rights it must be considered utterly irresponsible to add to the escalation of those socio-political conflicts by transfers of small arms.

    Roman Deckert is a small arms researcher at the Berlin Information-Centre for Transatlantic Security (BITS) and a boardmember of the Armaments Information Office (RIB e.V.), Freiburg i.Br


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