Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc.

The formation of the Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Inc. was sparked by the visit to Bohol of Mr. Jesus Alvarez, Jr., former director of the Philippine Parks and Wildlife Bureau in 1996. Mr. Alvarez was one of the pioneers in the nature conservancy field. He was instrumental in bringing the plight of the endangered Philippine eagle to International attention.

During his visit to Bohol at the invitation of local concerned citizens, he was introduced to the tarsier and to its plight – a continuing decline of the tarsier population in Bohol due to poachers. To stop the decline of this indigenous specie, he proposed an initial program of work: 1) to establish a body to assume overall responsibility for the whole drive; 2) define the parameters of the effort and the role the said body would play therein; 3) move for the declaration of the Philippine tarsier as an especially protected specie by the President of the Republic; 4) Identify an appropriate site for the designation as a sanctuary for the said specie.

Alvarez also specified four main areas of activity that the organization to be set up would concentrate on: habitat management and protection; community organization and management; research on ecology and biology of the tarsier; and ecotourism.

Thus, on April 17, 1996, the Philippine Tarsier Foundation Inc. was registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission. The incorporators were: the Rev. Fr. Florante S. Camacho, SVD, (former) president of the Divine Word College (now Holy Name University); Anos Fonacier, municipal councilor and resort operator; and Col. (Ret.) Zosimo Angan, businessman.

Richard Uy, banker, and Marlito Uy, department store owner later joined the group. Fonacier was elected as Chairman of the Board; Camacho as President; and Alvarez as executive Vice-President. Alvarez is the only Boholano on the Board. The Philippine Tarsier Foundation, Incorporated (PTFI) is a non-stock, non-profit organization.

The Foundation then forwarded a formal request to the DENR on November 4, 1996, for the preparation and conclusion of a memorandum of agreement charging the Foundation with the implementation of the Philippine Tarsier Conservation Program.

In 1997, DENR released the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) mandating the group to implement the Philippine Tarsier Conservation Program with four (4) major components, namely: 1) Conservation and preservation of the Philippine tarsier and its natural habitat; 2) Scientific Research; 3) Community Organizing; and 4) Eco-Tourism.

On April 1, 1997, the Foundation invited Tourism Secretary Mina T. Gabor to serve as its honorary chairperson. This is in recognition of her keen interest in environmental concerns throughout the Philippine archipelago.

On June 23, 1997, President Fidel Ramos issued Proclamation No. 1030 declaring the Philippine Tarsier (tarsius syrichta) as a Specially Protected Faunal Species of the Philippines.