Press Releases

Hundreds to thousands of migratory waterbirds were logged during the conduct of Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), a program that aims to monitor and record bird sightings across the globe. It was conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) in the early weeks of January 2020, in Davao Region’s six (6) monitoring sites – Malalag mudflats in Davao del Sur, Bucana in Davao City, Banay-banay in Davao Oriental and in Panabo, Carmen and Tagum in Davao del Norte.

AWC is an annual event which takes place during the second and third weeks of January.

In Malalag, about a thousand of Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) were sighted, along with hundreds of Pied Stilts (Himantopus leucocephalus) and Whiskered Terns (Chlidonias hybrida). A small number of Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris), an endangered species was also sighted.

Moreso in Carmen Coastal Wetland, a few of nearly threatened species such as Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) and Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) were also seen. With them are some Whiskered Terns also flocking in the area. The latter species were also spotted in its neighboring Coastland Wetland in Panabo along with hundreds of Little Egret and Pied Stilts.

Meanwhile in Banay-bay, White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea) and Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) were recorded, just a few compared to the thousands of Pied Stilts that landed in the area. In the same area, a few Philippine Ducks (Anas luzonica), the sole endemic species were also spotted flying overhead. Philippine Ducks is one of our very own families of birds which are unfortunately listed as vulnerable because of its small population.

As Philippines is one of the avian migrants’ flyways or routes in East Asia/Australasia, these avian migrants fly from their origin all the way to the lands of Davao Region to find a better habitat that will suit their need for breeding, feeding and raising their young. They are flying from vast distances including China, Japan, Siberia and other areas around the world that has winter season. These migrant birds travel beyond their country’s borders in search for warmer and safer refuge where they can also find sufficient food resources.

As a warm welcome to these visitors, may we all refrain from touching or harming them. Just let them fly freely.



The Chinese Crested Tern (Thalasseus bernsteini) yet again, surprises the wild with its rare presence after several decades of invisibility. In fact, they were once thought to be extinct.

Chinese Crested Tern’s sight and specimen records show that their population was just as few as half of a hundred. Due to their rarity, they were tagged as a bird of legend and were labeled as critically endangered species.

These birds were first sighted in Indonesia in 1863 and were randomly spotted again after a few years that turn into decades in China, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan. In the Philippines, there were sight records of them in 1905 and made its surprising come back in March 2018 and just recently, November 2019 among other migratory birds that landed in the coastal wetlands of Panabo, Davao del Norte.

Ornithologists and conservationists around the world are unceasingly formulating measures to preserve these rare birds and increase their population which include conservation of their habitat and breeding colonies.

Among the threats attributed to their declining population are bird hunting, egg collection and other human and natural disturbances.

We can contribute to the conservation of Chinese Crested Terns and all other birds and save them from the danger of extinction simply by not being a threat. Please, do not disturb or hunt them, do not collect, buy or consume their eggs.

Let them fly and multiply freely.

(Photo taken in March 2018 courtesy of Peter Simpson, a professional birdwatcher.)

Officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) and the Indonesian Consulate recently had a meeting to plan out the possible repatriation of wildlife species that were confiscated in Mati, Davao Oriental last April this year. If pushed through, it will be the first in the region and the Philippines to return rescued wildlife species in its country of origin.

It can be recalled that Task Force POGI (Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife Trade) composed of representatives from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), DENR, Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army (PA) seized different kinds of exotic animals on April 8, 2019 in Barangay Dahican, City of Mati, Davao Oriental. The wildlife species, mostly birds, were said to have come from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Task Force POGI was organized by DENR in 2013 to curb poaching and illegal trade of wildlife in the country.

Most of the apprehended wildlife species, composed of birds, mammals and reptiles, are categorized as endangered based on the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). CITES is an international agreement between government and aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. This was conceived to regulate the trade of wildlife animals and plants across borders and safeguard certain species from over-exploitation.

In behalf of DENR Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Eastern Mindanao and DENR-XI Regional Executive Director Ruth M. Tawantawan, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Pablito Ofrecia welcomed Indonesian Consul Henny Mulyani and other representatives from the Indonesian Consulate. After the meeting, the team proceeded to Davao Crocodile Park to check on the said wildlife animals that was turned over there for safekeeping.

Also present are Dr. Esteven U. Toledo of DENR-Biodiversity and Management Bureau (BMB); Chief of the Conservation Development Division (CDD) Myrna Erlinda Arbiol; Chief of the Legal Division Atty. Iris Pauline Tapales; Chief of the Wildlife Permitting Section Jose E. Lechoncito Jr.; and Special Investigator I of the Enforcement Division Brine Dumdum.


11 12 Earthquake Impacts in Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte MGB XI Updates

Landslides, tension cracks, slumps, rocks rolling downslopes were among the findings of the on-going monitoring and assessment of the areas affected by earthquake that consecutively occurred in October 16, 29 and 30, 2019 in Mindanao.


In So. Marawer, Purok Tagumpay 2, Brgy. Kapatagan, an approximately 250 meter-length tension cracks was observed. It has a crack opening ranging from 1 inch- 5 inches and with a maximum vertical displacement of 5 inches. It was accordingly caused by 6.3 magnitude earthquake in October 16 and was aggravated during the 6.6 magnitude earthquake in October 29. It was recommended that the affected houses will be immediately relocated since the area is highly susceptible to landslide.

In Purok Talisay, Brgy. Kiagot, there were reported cases of rock rolling downslope. Loose cobble to boulder-sized volcanic rock fragments were observed along the slope. The MGB team recommended for conduct of further assessment and for the relocation or temporary evacuation of household directly situated in the area as it is highly susceptible to mass movement.

Series of tension cracks was also observed in So. Bandera, Brgy. Balabag. A slump was further noted with a maximum vertical displacement of 30 cm.

Another landslide was observed approximately 2 kilometers northeast of the Purok Centro. Adjacent to the landslide crown, series of tension cracks were also observed.

Several areas of Brgy. Goma were also affected. In So. Kiola, a tension crack with a vertical displacement reaching up to 45 cm was noted which imposes threat to the 2 houses that are adjacent to it. It was accordingly occurred in October 30 earthquake.

In Purok Alom, So. Nodila, a massive landslide was observed wherein possible debris flow may pose a threat to damming of Napan River.


As the LGU also prioritizes assessment of earthquake impacts in schools, the MGB team surveyed two (2) schools in Brgy. Palma Gil wherein structural cracks were observed. In Gatong Elementary School- Igang Extension, it was remarked for temporary termination of four (4) classrooms and for inspection of proper authorities.

In Gatong Elementary School, aside from the structural cracks on walls, gap between the wall of a classroom to the floor was also noted as well as a vertical displacement on the floor outside the classrooms in its old building. The MGB team recommended for immediate inspection and assessment by the appropriate authorities.

The MGB-XI’s above-mentioned update covers November 7-8, 2019 monitoring and assessment in close coordination with the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENROs), Local/Municipal Disaster Risk and Reduction and Management Offices (L/M DRRMO) and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology or PHIVOLCS.

11 7 DENR MGB XI monitors EQ hit areas in Davao Region

All geologists and personnel embedded in the provincial offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-XI) are still on the earthquake-hit areas within Davao Region to provide an update on earthquake impact monitoring and assessment.

In Davao del Sur, landslides hit the Municipality of Magsaysay where there are reported casualties in Barangays Upper Bala and Asbangilok. The team also noted tension cracks in some areas and strongly recommended that the affected community should be immediately relocated.

In Davao City, there were occurrences of landslides in Marilog District, Brgy. Mandug, Brgy Buhangin and Catalunan Grande but neither were there casualties nor injuries reported.

In Marilog district, tension cracks and slumps were observed along the barangay road in So. Makatol in Brgy. Magsaysay wherein the team recommended for the immediate relocation of families residing in the area. An old landslide was also noted in Purok Acacia in Brgy. Tamugan with vertical displacement of 10 meters wherein approximately 100 households are located 40 meters near the base of the slope.

An earthquake-induced landslide was also noted in Phase-5 DDF Village along Davao River in Brgy. Mandug, affecting 1 house. Immediate relocation of houses along the riverbank or installation of riverbank protection were some of the recommendations of the MGB team.

"The result and findings of the assessment are furnished to the respective offices for their appropriate action. This is part of the bureau’s disaster-response efforts” MGB-XI Regional Director Atty. Jasper Alberto Lascano stresses.

Further, Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, evaluated the aftermath of the earthquake and bore a call to the LGUs to reexamine MGB’s geological hazard maps with attached recommendations which are issued to their offices to serve as their guide and reference in managing calamitous events.