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Public Affairs

Sandra Aguinaldo explores bat-fishing on 'I-Witness'

Dokumentaryo ni Sandra Aguinaldo
Airing date: February 6, 2012
How do you fish in the sky?   In a coastal municipality in Leyte, fisherfolks have learned to capture bats with the use a very clever device - a kite.   But this is no ordinary kite. Measuring at least three feet in height, it's tied to a nylon string laden with small fishing hooks. The huge kites are designed to trap giant fruit bats with wing spans of almost 2 meters.   Right after sunset, more than 10,000 of these giant fruit bats fly out from an island to feed in the mainland just across. And just about the same time, local teenagers and kids gather at the shore to launch their deadly kites...the sky becoming a battleground for survival.   "Richard," a 15-year-old teenager, says he has captured almost a hundred of these bats, locally known as "kabog", since he started four years ago. All of them ended up in their table, killed and cooked for food.   His father, a fisherman, hasn't had a good catch from the sea for days.   However, "bat-fishing" in the municipality is considered illegal as these bats are already endangered.   Initial efforts to protect and showcase the bats for eco-tourism is underway, but local authorities are aware that it would take more than just a tour boat to ensure the bats' survival.   Sandra Aguinaldo goes to the heart of Leyte to witness the shocking carnage of the flying foxes. I-Witness airs Mondays on GMA-7, after Saksi.