The Philippine cockatoo or katala (Cacatua haematuropygia). (File photo/ Photo by Peter Widmann/KFI)

The Katala Foundation, Inc. (KFI) and the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) renewed their partnership Monday for the conservation of the Philippine cockatoo bird species and the protection of their habitats in Barangay Iwahig.

They were joined in the agreement by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) at Sienatel Hotel in Barangay Tiniguiban.

Indira Widdman, director of the Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Program-Katala Foundation Inc. (PCCP-KFI), said since the signing of the first memorandum of agreement in 2015, they have renewed their partnership with the ICF as it holds the third largest and most important population of the katala.

Widdman said Rasa Island in Narra holds the biggest number of katala birds ranging from 320-380, followed by Balabac town with 240-300, and the Iwahig with 70-90.

“Ang potential ng ICF ay malaki dahil malawak ang kanyang kagubatan. Kung i-co-compare mo sa mga small islands, malaki ang kanyang potential for holding a very good population of [Philippine cockatoos]. Ang lowland forest ng ICF ay talagang biodiversity wise, hindi lang Philippine cockatoo. Meron ding other equally threatened animals. Dahil lowland forest nga, ang potential for destruction din ay malaki, kaya we really tried to engage them,” she said.

Widdman said because of their partnership with the ICF, they were able to monitor the number of katala in the area which is increasing.

Meanwhile, ICF superintendent Geraldo Aro expressed their gratitude for the renewal of partnership and assured their 100 percent support and cooperation.

“We are very honored and thankful, because once again we are part of the roles and advocacies of Katala Foundation, sa amin ang pasasalamat dahil with katala on our side, CENRO, PCSD, this could also be one way of addressing our perennial problem with the informal settlers. Actually, talagang kailangan namin ang tulong ninyo, we will be needing your assistance and help as well, and with this MOA, rest assured that we will be giving our 100% support and cooperation,” he said.

PCSD executive director Nelson Devanadera and CENRO chief Felizardo Cayatoc also gave their assurance and support on the mandates of KFI and the ICF.

Widdman said they are also encouraging Palaweños to create more “green spaces” to address climate change that has led to higher mortality rate among Philippine Cockatoos.

“Let’s create more green spaces. Ipagpatuloy natin ang pagtatanim ng kahoy, patuloy nating tulungan, dahil sa pagtatanim hindi lang natin tinutulungan ang mga buhay-ilang kundi tinutulungan din natin ang ating mga sarili. Massive na ang destruction ng ating mga forest, whether it is the habitat of the cockatoo or ano mang hayop, tayo rin ay nakikinabang dito, kasi kung sobrang init, tayo rin ang nahihirapan,” she said.