Despite the gloom of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that the Philippines is battling along with the rest of the world, a bright spot in wildlife biodiversity shone last June when a young Philippine Eagle was found in Barangay Kisante in Makilala, North Cotabato, near the Mt. Apo Natural Park where geothermal energy leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) operates.
The eagle, identified as female and estimated to be around three to four years of age, was found being mobbed by a flock of crows and was rescued by officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)–Kidapawan, who took temporary custody of the bird before turning it over to representatives of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) for further examination and rehabilitation.
The eagle was given the name “Makilala” after the place where she was found. According to PEF, securing her release and ensuring her continued safety in the wild is necessary so that she can find a mate, nest and contribute to the continued survival of the critically endangered Philippine Eagle.
“Releasing this reduced eagle is important in keeping the wild population thriving. Protecting the existing wild population is as significant as breeding the eagle in captivity to add new birds in our forests. There is also an opportunity to discover the other Philippine eagles in the area in monitoring this eagle after its release.” says PEF Director of Research and Conservation Dr. Jayson Ibanez.
As such, barely over a month since she was found, Makilala was released back into the wild last July by the PEF in cooperation with their long-time conservation partner EDC along with the DENR and the Municipality of Makilala. The energy company accepted PEF’s proposal to release Makilala in a target site within its Mt. Apo geothermal reservation and committed its support of the monitoring activities in the next six months. EDC employees gave Makilala a second name—“Hiraya”—a Filipino word that translates to “the fruit of one’s hopes, dreams and aspirations.”
Indeed, Makilala-Hiraya symbolizes EDC’s continuous commitment not only to environmental conservation but also to going beyond sustainability, having been a partner of PEF for nearly two decades now. The energy company adopted a Philippine Eagle it named “Geothermica” in 2012 through PEF’s Adopt-an-Eagle program. The protection of the iconic national bird remains a priority for the company’s biodiversity conservation and monitoring program (BMCP).
The 701-hectare protected geothermal reservation surrounding EDC’s 108-megawatt Mount Apo Geothermal Project (MAGP) is well-maintained, with lush forests that are home to 39 species of mammals and 165 species of birds, including the Philippine Eagle.
“EDC fully supports the protection and conservation of the Philippine Eagle. We continue to work with the Philippine Eagle Foundation and our local governments towards protecting them and their natural habitat by increasing and maintaining forest cover,” said Atty. Allan Barcena, EDC’s head of corporate social responsibility and public relations.
EDC is one of the world’s largest geothermal producers and the country’s leading renewable energy company. For over 40 years, EDC has been implementing comprehensive environmental management programs that enhance the ecosystem and CSR programs that ensure inclusive growth for its partner communities. EDC is a subsidiary of First Gen Corporation, the country’s largest clean energy company, with a portfolio that included natural gas, geothermal, solar, wind and hydro.
EDC’s 1,499MW total installed capacity generates 42 percent of the country’s total renewable energy, with its 1,204MW geothermal portfolio accounting for 62 percent of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and putting the Philippines on the map as the world’s third largest geothermal producer.