DAVAO—In an effort to promote the sustainable use of the environment for the next generation, Cemex Philippines Foundation Inc. (CPFI) has engaged the tribal children of Mindanao in an educational tour of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) Center to immerse themselves in the habitat of one of the world’s rarest forest raptors facing extinction.
“I’m filled with joy that we are joined by the ‘future of our motherland’ because, ultimately, they are the ones who will take care of the Philippine Eagle, our environment and forests,” CPFI Executive Director Chito S. Maniago said during the half-day field trip of over 20 select students of Kabagaayan Elementary School in Barangay Sibulan.
He said it was the first time for the young members of the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe to go on an educational tour since the school’s opening in June.
“So I personally thank the Philippine Eagle Foundation, our volunteers, employees, the media and, more especially, the community members,” he said. During the tour of the PEF Center—a protected forest area in Malagos, Davao City, that spans 8.4 hectares—the students had a personal encounter of the 36 Philippine eagles—half of them were bred in captivity—and witnessed the other 67 species of birds and several animals found here.
Likewise, they participated in activities, such as the cheering competition and tree planting. The tribal kids also performed a short skit about their tribe’s tradition and ways to protect the Mount Apo, where they originated from.
As an early Christmas present, the social arm of Cemex Philippines turned over a bag of goodies, including school supplies, to the students, as well as some learning materials for the teachers and faculty members.
“The foundation of development is only education. I thank the Cemex Philippines Foundation and PEF for giving this opportunity to our youngsters to be exposed on how to protect our Philippine eagle and their habitat because soon they will become our very own forest guards,” said Datu Hernan, the chieftain of the Sibulan Indigenous Peoples’ Organization (IPO). With their tieup, both the organizations have facilitated livelihood support to communities of the Sibulan IPO in honor of their noble action in saving the Philippine Eagle.
“We’re proud to engage with our partners in Sibulan. PEF has been working with them for more than 10 years now,” PEF Executive Director Dennis Salvador said.
“We are looking forward to more interactions with PEF and the Sibulan IPO. We hope to make this partnership sustainable to be able to help more communities in protecting the Philippine Eagle,” said Paul Arcenas, Cemex vice president for investor relations and integrated communications, and CPFI board member.
Promoting the importance of the Philippine Eagle and its protection forms part of the Adopt-a-Species Program of CPFI—an initiative that enables communities to foster sustainable conservation efforts for endangered species and the environment—that eventually paved the way for the establishment of the Adopt-a-Wildlife-Species Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The cement company is supporting Philippine Eagle surveys in three suspected eagle territories, delineate nesting sites and initiate home range and habitat use on adult birds.
Cemex Philippines is one of the leading cement manufacturers in the country. Its subsidiaries Apo Cement Corp. and Solid Cement Corp. produce and market cement and other building materials nationwide. They carry the well established cement brands APO and Rizal.