The Philipp.ines’ pioneer environmental group Haribon Foundation celebrates its 45th year in conserving the country’s biodiversity this month.
With the theme “45 Years in Conserving All Life,” Haribon joins Bonifacio Global City’s (BGC) three-day Passionfest on November 24-26, 2017 on Bonifacio High Street.
The environmental group’s festivities will be centered on eco-friendly workshops ranging from painting proudly
Pinoy species to Do-It-Your-Own upcycled crafts. Visitors can also visit the Native Trees booth where they can take photos and join a Bird Quest game to find hidden migratory birds.
“From our National Bird to our Coral Reefs, Haribon Foundation has been working to promote healthy Philippine biodiversity for over four decades,” said Maria Belinda de la Paz, Haribon chief operating officer.
Haribon works in a variety of areas, establishing community-led native tree nurseries, conducting biodiversity research, providing technical guidance in the establishment and effective management of local conservation sites, strengthening marine protected areas, and raising public consciousness in promoting eco-friendly lifestyles.
During the event, students from different elementary schools in Metro Manila can join the Envi Quiz contest. Also, Haribon’s 45 years in conserving Philippine biodiversity will be spotlighted in a huge map of milestones.
“Our humble beginnings show how our work in conserving the ‘King of Birds’ sparked the environmental movement in the country,” de la Paz said.
Beginning with birds
Haribon began as a small birdwatching group in 1972 studying the little known facts and best ways to conserve the critically-endangered Philippine Eagle.
Forty years later, Mount Mingan of Sierra Madre approaches its declaration as a Critical Habitat after Haribon researchers confirmed in an expedition the discovery of an adult pair and a juvenile Philippine Eagle in 2014, the latter fondly named by the community as Gab-E (Gabaldon Eagle).
Recently, Haribon began researching the globally-threatened Rufous-headed hornbill (local name Dulungan), which can be found nowhere else in the planet except in Panay and Negros islands.
Tackling the greater environment
During the early 1980s, Haribon expanded its work to include other species in conservation and help reverse the tide of environmental degradation in the country.
The group campaigned against commercial logging in Palawan in 1987 led by then Haribon president Maximo Kalaw. It gathered one million signatures under the “Boto Para sa Inang Kalikasan” campaign.
In 2005, Haribon launched the Rainforestation Organizations and Advocates movement or ROAD to 2020, which is a campaign to bring back the one million hectares of the country’s rainforests using native trees. Haribon’s ROAD to 2020 movement won Energy Globe’s best local environmental project in June of this year.
Haribon also embarked on marine conservation in the late 1990s leading to the formation of PAMANA Ka Sa Pilipinas, a nationwide alliance of community-based Marine Protected Area managers composed of fisher folk and local government units.
By 2016, marine species threatened with extinction in the country were identified (i.e., Mameng or Humphead Wrasse, Lapu-lapu or Giant Grouper and Taungan or Green Bumphead Parrotfish) and recommendations were made through the Darwin Initiative, a project of Haribon and Newcastle University.
Recently, Haribon wrote a statement condemning the construction of the controversial Coral World Park in Coron, Palawan. The statement released in June 2017 garnered a public response from Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo and was regarded by the group as instrumental in the scrapping of the project.
“Together with our partners for conservation, we have nurtured Mother Earth under our wings for forty-five years,” de la Paz said.
“Through working with communities, like-minded groups and citizens, and harnessing science, technology and new media, we continue to take on our work in conserving all life for 45 more years and beyond into a more sustainable and greener future,” she added.
Haribon’s 45th anniversary celebration is sponsored and supported by Sanitary Care Products Asia Inc., Baker Mckenzie, Lush Philippines, Sip and Gogh, Vitrium Upcycled Lamps and Kandama Krafts.