Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park to house Philippine Eagle pair

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2019   •   974

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) signed on Monday (May 20) a memorandum of agreement with the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) for the loan of a pair of Philippine eagles.

The eagle pair, named “Geothermica” and “Sambisig”, will stay in Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park in the next 10 years for conservation and breeding of this critically-endangered bird species whose population at present counts to only less than 400 pairs.

According to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, the eagle pair will serve as ambassadors for Philippine biodiversity.

“Sending Geothermica and Sambisig to Singapore acts as a biosecurity measure to ensure the survival of the species and as a fallback population in the event of catastrophic events like disease outbreaks or extreme natural calamities taking place in their Philippine habitats,” Cimatu said.

Jurong Bird Park is the largest bird park in Asia.

It houses close to 3,500 birds across 400 species, of which 20 percent is threatened.

The signing of the loan agreement was witnessed by Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines Gerard Ho Wei Hong and Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap. – Marje Pelayo

Philippines, World Bank ink $100-M loan accord for COVID-19 emergency response project

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) on Tuesday announced that the Philippines has signed a $100-million loan agreement with the World Bank to strengthen the country’s COVID-19 emergency response project (ERP).

In a statement, the DOF said that the loan deal was signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and World Bank acting country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand Achim Fock on April 28.

The DOF said the loan accord aims to strengthen the country’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and boost its national systems for public health preparedness.

The $100-million loan deal follows an earlier agreement signed by Dominguez and Fock for the $500-million Third Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan (DRM DPL3) that aims to augment the Philippine government’s urgent financing requirements in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The World Bank has again acted swiftly to help developing economies like the Philippines meet the ever-increasing demand for medical care and health facilities resulting from the coronavirus-induced global health crisis. We thank the World Bank once again for supporting our efforts to contain the spread of the virus and expand our capacity to prevent and prepare for emerging infectious diseases in the future,” Dominguez said.

In approving the COVID-19 ERP loan, Fock said “boosting the [Philippines’] capacity to respond to COVID-19 will save lives.”

“The government has taken quick and decisive action in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the World Bank is proud to support its efforts. Right now, no other investment offers greater return,” Mr. Fock added.

According to the DOF, the COVID-19 ERP consists of the following components:

  • Strengthening the country’s emergency COVID-19 health care response efforts;
  • Strengthening laboratory capacity at the national and sub-national levels to support the prevention of, preparedness against, and response to, emerging infectious diseases;
  • Implementation management and monitoring and evaluation; and
  • Contingent emergency response.

The COVID-19 ERP, to be implemented by the Department of Health (DOH), will support the Philippine government’s efforts in the procurement of medical and laboratory equipment and reagents; medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPEs), medicines and ambulances; and isolation and quarantine facilities.

The World Bank may also provide proactive assistance in accessing existing supply chains through its Bank-Facilitated Procurement (BFP) to assist the DOH in implementing the project, “which will be beneficial considering the current disruptions in the usual supply chains for medical consumables and equipment for COVID-19 response,” the DOF said.

An earlier statement issued by the World Bank said the COVID-19 ERP loan also aims to expand the Philippines’ laboratory capacity by, among others, retrofitting the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) along with six sub-national and public health laboratories in Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Surigao City, and Manila; and finance the construction and expansion of laboratory capacity in priority regions that currently do not have these facilities.

The department also said that this project loan will likewise support the efforts of the DOH in coming up with design standards for hospital isolation and treatment centers in managing patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI), which will be used in health facilities across the country to ensure the consistency of quality and standards in delivering COVID-19 healthcare services.

The loan carries a maturity period of 29 years, inclusive of a 10-and-a-half-year grace period.

It will be fully financed by the World Bank with no counterpart funding needed from the Philippine government.

The DOF expects the effectiveness of the ERP loan and the project implementation to commence in early May.

Philippine Eagle spotted at Mt. Apo

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 24, 2020

A Philippine Eagle was spotted in the forest of Mt. Apo.

According to a Facebook post of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF), the eagle was discovered by forest guards in the area. The eagle is said to be only a year old.

The Philippine Eagle is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with only 400 pairs left in the wild.

According to the PEF, the decline of the Philippine Eagle was mainly caused by deforestation and shooting.

Based on the 2018 report of the PEF, there were only eight young eagles monitored in Mindanao from 2017 to 2018.—AAC

Singapore officially launches Philippine Eagle pair

Marje Pelayo   •   November 28, 2019

SINGAPORE – Singapore officially launched on Wednesday (November 27) the Philippine Eagle exhibit at Jurong Bird Park featuring first breeding pair Geothermica (15) and Sambisig (17).

The birds arrived in Singapore in June as part of a 10-year conservation breeding agreement in cooperation with Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).

Any offspring from the pair will be returned to the Philippines.

Present at the launch were Singapore Foreign Minister Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph Del Mar Yap, DENR ASec. Ricardo Calderon and other Philippine Embassy officials.

“This is another wonderful opportunity to promote environmental conservation and biodiversity,” Dr. Balakrishnan said.

“It will raise awareness of the threats that these endangered birds face in the wild,” he added.

The launching of the Philippine Eagle Exhibit coincides with the 50th Anniversary of diplomatic ties between Singapore and the Philippines this year.

The Philippine Eagle, known for its massive two-meter wing span, is considered critically endangered with only about 400 pairs left in the wild. MNP / UNTV Singapore

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