Wednesday, July 23, 2008


DAVAO CITY—For killing a prized eagle, a farmer in Bukidnon is facing charges punishable by up to 12 years in jail and P1 million in fines.

It was no ordinary eagle that lumad farmer Brian Balaon felled with a rifle shot and turned into soup dish tinola—it was a three-year-old juvenile male Philippine Eagle, an endangered species and one of the world’s largest and rarest eagles.

On Tuesday, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) in Bukidnon filed a criminal case against Balaon charging him with violating Republic Act No. 9147, or the Wildlife Conservation Act.

Its section 28 stipulates that those who kill critically endangered species, like the Philippine Eagle, risks imprisonment of a minimum of six years and one day to 12 years and/or a fine of P100,000 to P1 million.

Balaon, 22, was still under the custody of tribal chieftains in the village of La Fortuna in Impasug-ong town.

Balaon has admitted killing the eagle, named Kagsabua, on July 10 while it was perched on a tree near his vegetable farm. He said he thought it was an ordinary bird.”


Tsk-tsk. For mistaking a protected eagle for an ordinary bird, the poor guy has to pay P 1 million and stay in jail for up to 12 years. Now that is one VERY expensive bird soup dish right there. I wonder where he gets the 1 million to pay off the fine – surely, indigenous farmers don’t have that much cash. Well, his family left behind will have to pay off that one for rest of their lives, and it might not even come close. From the time of the killing of the bird, it took only 10 days to resolve the crime.

Swift wheels of justice there.

Meanwhile, The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) expressed outrage at the murder of Philippines news correspondent and radio host Bert Sison in Sariaya, Quezon, 100 km southeast of the capital, on June 30. In a separate statement, RSF said, "If this murder remains unpunished, as so many other murders of journalists have, it will be another defeat for the rule of law. Combating violence against journalists and human rights activists should be a priority for the government." Sison is the third bird journalist to be murdered in the Philippines in 2008.

No clue as yet to the killers.

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