By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House Committee on Basic Education and Culture has approved a bill declaring the “tamaraw” or the Mindoro dwarf buffalo as the national land animal of the Philippines.
The panel, chaired by Cebu Rep. Ramon (Red) Durano VI approved House Bill 4606, filed by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Paulino Salvador (Doy) Leachon.
Leachon stated that the House panel’s passage of the bill and its corresponding committee report would help promote awareness and support of one of the country’s endangered species.
In the 1990s , the Maya, then the national bird was replaced by the Philippine eagle or the monkey-eating eagle in a move to save the dwindling population of the Philippine eagle.
“By this move, it is hoped that the tamaraw will experience the same fate as that of the Philippine eagle,” Leachon said.
Tamaraw is a small hoofed mammal which can only be found in the Philippines, particularly on the island of Mindoro.
Under House Bill 4606, the official adoption of the tamaraw as the national land animal shall be promulgated by making November 15 as the National Tamaraw Commemoration and Awareness Day, coinciding with the foundation days of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro.
“The tamaraw can be likened to us Filipinos, who can easily shift from one terrain to another, resilient and enduring. I believe that this animal can best represent our country,” Leachon said.
Leachon’s bill tasks the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Department of Education (DepEd) to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act.