By Julie S. Alipala
11:07 pm | Monday, February 10th, 2014
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines has appealed to the kidnappers of bird watchers Ewold Horn and Lorenzo Vinciguerra to free them.
Gina Mapua, president of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, said, "To whoever is holding them, dear captive holders, please allow them to celebrate the birds festival with us," Mapua said.
WBCP President Gina Mapua answering queries from
The two Europeans were taken by armed men in Tawi-Tawi two years ago. Horn, a Dutch national and Vinciguerra, a Swiss National were in the village of Pangaran village in Panglima Sugala, an island town of Tawi-Tawi, on February 1, 2012 when they were abducted. They were with a Filipino birdwatcher Ivan Sarenas, who escaped by jumping off the motorboat and swimming to a nearby island.
Former Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali said the kidnappers transferred the two Europeans to Sulu in March 2012.
Senior Supt. Abraham Orbita, the Sulu police chief, said their monitoring revealed that the two Europeans "are still alive."
"What we are doing right now is constricting the areas of Patikul (town) where the victims are kept," Orbita said
Mapua, along with some bird watching groups, have been staying in the city for the launching of the 9th Year Philippine Bird Festival.
Six foreign bird organizations and seven local environmental organizations will be coming to the city for the Feb. 27 to March 1 festival, according to Mapua.
Local organizations like the Palawan-based Katala Foundation, the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society and the Birdwatch Palawan are also participating in the festival.
Mary June Bugante, tourism director for Western Mindanao, has endorsed the city's areas, which are ideal for birdwatching.
"We have various bird species, many are endemic to this region," Bugante said.
The Department of Tourism has initially identified three major bird watching stations here – the Pasonanca Natural Park where there are more than 200 species of forest birds; the fish pond of the Zamboanga State College of Marines Sciences and Technology which is home and breeding site of Great White Egrets; and the Bog Lake in Barangay (village) Calarian, which is teeming with Purple Swamp Hens.