Bantay Gubat; The Eyes and Ears of MHRWS
For a mountain as remarkable as Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS), notable for hosting numerous unique species, particularly the endemic pitcher plants, it sure needs a full-whack of conservationists.
Aside from the collaborative conservation efforts of the DENR and the local government units of Davao Oriental, there is also a strong engagement of the local community in safekeeping the mountain especially from the poachers who are after the collection of species.
They are called “Bantay Gubat”, our very own local environmental warriors who have developed deep knowledge on the terrain of the mountain and the species in it due to their extensive exposure with various scientists and researchers.
Alfredo “Tatay Pedoy” Bolante, Sr is one of them who’s been watching over the mountain for almost two decades now. Currently 58 years old, still active and keen in his job. Though one-eyed, Tatay Pedoy is able to discern even the unrevealed and undescribed species in the mountainous realm. In fact, a site endemic pitcher plant that he found not so long ago was named after him. The researchers, Dr. Victor Amoroso and his team from Central Mindanao University named it Alfredo’s Pitcher Plant or Nepenthes alfredoi.
The DENR, through the Mt. Hamiguitan management recognizes the outstanding contribution of Tatay Pedoy and the rest of the Bantay Gubat, the guides and porters for the conservation and protection of MHRWS.
Meanwhile, 4 days to go! MHRWS along with other legislated protected areas in the Philippines under National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) will be featured through a live streaming conference on June 22, 2020. This is organized by the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau with the Office of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda.