DAVAO CITY — The Regional Development Council here is pushing for the expansion of the Mt. Hamiguitan Range and Wildlife Sanctuary to cover more than 26,000 hectares from its current 7,132.76 hectares.
During the 2nd Quarterly Meeting of the RDC 11 on June 7, the council, chaired by Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario agreed to submit a proposal to expand the MHRWS to 26,652.54 hectares to enhance wildlife protection. Mt. Hamiguitan is habitat of the Philippine Eagle, Philippine cockatoo and other endemic wildlife species.
The Philippine eagle, Pamana was released in the wild on June 12, in the forest of Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental which was declared as a World heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco). However, she was found dead last August 16 outside her site of release.
Republic Act No. 9303 in 2004 proclaimed the Mt. Hamiguitan Range and Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) a protected area under the Network of Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS). The mountain range has an elevation of 75-1,637 meters above sea level.
In a press release on Friday, June 17 the RDC 11 said “while the municipalities of San Isidro and Governor Generoso and Mati City have already passed municipal ordinances declaring the expansion area as a local conservation area, these local initiatives are being threatened by a pre-existing mining claim inside the expansion area under a Mining Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) approved in 2008.” (davaotoday.com)