Edwin Lacierda responds to Manila Zoo situation and may stay on it

I didn’t expect that my post (The Very Sad State of Manila Zoo) will receive so much attention and cause’s server to crash. “Manila Zoo” even trended worldwide on Twitter. I’m glad that it did because it caught the attention of Malacanang and Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda released the following statement in the Official Gazette.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda:

On the Manila Zoo

[Delivered on July 14, 2011]

We share the concern expressed by concerned citizens over the condition in which animals are kept in the Manila Zoo. We have taken steps again to alert the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), which, under the provisions of Republic Act No. 8485, otherwise known as the Animal Welfare Act of 1998, places the animal welfare certification and regulation of zoos under the authority of the Director of Animal Industry and the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the DENR, pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act No. 9147 (Wildlife Protection and Conservation Act). As a response, the BAI, through the Committee on Animal Welfare, said that it continuously engages in a comprehensive discussion with the animal advocates, particularly on the condition of Mali the elephant and other animals in the zoo. They made a plan of action to uphold the welfare of the animals that should be led by zoo officials.

We have also communicated with the office of the City Mayor of Manila and are confident that Mayor Alfredo Lim will dialogue with concerned citizens. The City Mayor has directed Public Recreations Bureau Chief Engineer Deng Manimbo to receive assistance and support from concerned citizens. Those who may wish to help in raising funds or otherwise helping to restore the Manila Zoo may call telephone numbers 468-9498 and 383-6862.

It is noteworthy that concerned citizens have expressed the willingness to assist in any way they can, to help the Manila Zoo improve its facilities and raise its standards. We are encouraged by this demonstration of public spirit on the part of our fellow citizens. It is a positive sign that the citizenry wants to be part of the solution and not just point out a problem.

I appreciate the quick response by the government but I’m jaded. How long will it take for BAI, DENR and City of Manila to act on this. The animals aren’t getting healthier and quick action is needed here. There is no time to play Chinese garters with bureaucratic red tape. I and most of the people I know are not willing to donate money when we don’t know where it will end up. What most of us are willing to do is volunteer. Personally, I would rather that Manila Zoo either close down then send the animals to a big sanctuary either in Palawan or another country, or that Manila Zoo be sold or partnered with a private company which can guarantee its maintenance and attention to the animals’ welfare.

My friend Nix de Pano went to Manila Zoo this morning and took photos of the animals. I’ll try to update tonight about what she found out. My friends and I are planning to visit the zoo very soon and we are looking for a zoologist, ornithologist, herpetologist or any animal specialist who is willing to help us. If you are or if you know somebody, please contact ProPinoy or me (I’m @dementia on Twitter).

One last thing, it has come to my attention that Tagaytay Zoo is almost as decrepit as Manila Zoo, with animals lacking in food and sanitation. The government needs to look into this too and I will visit the zoo the next time I’m in Tagaytay to see how the animals are.