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PIA Press Release

Negros wildlife at risk due to human greed

Dumaguete City (19 November) -- Negros wildlife is in danger because of human greed and ignorance given that some are illegally trading and hunting endangered species in the province.

This was cited by Vice Governor Jose "Petit" Baldado during the Kapiha sa PIA yesterday in observance of Negros Wildlife Month to intensify awareness on the need to protect and conserve the local wildlife of the island.

The Vice Governor stressed that wildlife is among the Earth's most important biodiversity that provides many benefits including food, protects flood and control erosion, water quality and more opportunities.

However, the state of endangered species in the province is in the verge of extinction with only four (4) percent forest covered due to human irresponsibility, Baldado lamented.

One of the wildlife animals supposedly common in the Negros Oriental, the Visayan warty pig or "bakatin"is now critically endangered. The Visayan warty pig can only be found on two of the Visayan Islands in the central Philippines, and as a result, faces unique challenges to their survival in the wild.

The challenges include little room to escape from predators, food shortages and hunting - these are the leading causes of the Visayan warty pig's status as critically endangered. Due to the small numbers of remaining Visayan warty pigs in the wild, little is known of their behaviors or characteristics outside of captivity.

With the presence of all Police Environment Desk Officers (PEDOs) during the Kapihan, the local official challenged them to confiscate or arrest violators who are illegally hunting and trading animals without permit.

In the same forum, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Executive Director Leonardo Sibalucca noted that under the Wildlife of 2001 or RA 9147, Negros Oriental has only 79 individuals or entities were issued certificate of wildlife registration to regulate and monitor the collection and trade of wildlife.

Despite on this, Tourism Secretary Joseph "Ace" Durano, on the other hand, noted that the presence in the country of the Banyan Tree Group, one of the leading developers, designers and operators of top tier resorts, hotels and spas worldwide, is a clear confirmation that the Philippines is an attractive destination for tourism investment.

"If you compare the Philippines to other countries, we can really say that the Philippines today has a very attractive environment, and a very attractive destination for tourism investment," Durano said.

During his call on the President, Ho informed her that the Banyan Tree Group is committed to put in an additional investment of $70 million to expand the company's Philippine operations.

"We believe that the Philippines will grow into an important luxury tourist destination and our resorts in Dinaran will not only enhance our position as a premier resort chain in Asia but will also give us important foothold in a country with tremendous potential," Ho said. (PIA/JCT) [top]

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