THE Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) has launched a crowdfunding campaign to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE) for 117 forest guards.
Steffan Madrona, PEF's marketing and board relations officer, announced this initiative during the Kapehan sa Dabaw on Monday morning, October 23, at The Annex of SM City Davao, said, "It will help equip our forest guards with their needs, especially the personal protective gears."
Currently, they only possess dry shirts, boots, and headlights. Through this campaign, they aim to raise approximately P600,000 to procure essential equipment such as hard hats, boots, raincoats, tents, headlights, binoculars, radios, and dry bags,” Madrona said.
Nathan Nuelan, PEF's communications officer, clarified that the intended equipment would be standardized for all partner communities of the foundation, including the Bagobo-Klata, Obu Manuvu, Bagobo-Tagabawa from Toril and Sibulan, and Monuvu Tinonanon.
Covering about 224,000 hectares of land around Mount Apo, the 117 forest guards play a crucial role in safeguarding the area, which is not only home to unique wildlife but also serves as a vital water source for the city.
Pongnguo Rosalito Anug, an elder and leader of the PEF Bagobo Klata Forest Guard, shared the challenges they faced during their patrols. He expressed the lack of proper equipment and highlighted the struggle for food.
Anug underscored that their dedication to protecting the forest stems from a deep sense of responsibility toward their ancestral domain, rather than financial gain.
“Ang kinabuhi man gyud namo isip Bantay-Bukid delikado eh naa pa me mga threat sa sulod sa lasang usahay ma emosyonal ta kay lisod ang kahimtang (Our life as Bantay-Bukid is indeed dangerous; there are threats within the forests. At times, the challenging circumstances can be emotionally overwhelming),” Anug said.
Madrona said forest guards are crucial in protecting people and the watershed. She noted that the unpredictable weather conditions often increase the risks during their patrols and monitoring within the forests.
Providing complete PPE will ensure their safety while preserving these invaluable natural treasures. RGP