Colleagues mourn the death of Dr. Bo, Davao’s famed vet

by Keith Bacongco

DAVAO CITY — Colleagues mourn the passing of a renowned veterinarian Dr. Roberto Puentespina Jr., who is known for his advocacy works in wildlife conservation, especially on his contributions to save the critically-endangered Philippine Eagle.

Dr. Roberto Puentespina Jr., succumbed to an illness at a private hospital around 10 p.m. on November 15, his wife Olive confirmed to Manila Bulletin.

Popularly known by his nickname as Dr. Bo, Dr. Roberto Puentespina Jr. is known for his “Malagos Bird Show” at the family-owned Malagos Garden Resort in Baguio District in Davao City. (Keith Bacongco/Manila Bulletin)

Popularly known by his nickname as Dr. Bo, the 57-year old veterinarian is known for his “Malagos Bird Show” at the family-owned Malagos Garden Resort in Baguio District here.

For 17 years, he hosted the 45-minute bird show, which had been his medium in promoting awareness in wildlife conservation, environment protection and climate change mitigation.

Every weekend, the interactive bird show have attracted hundreds of people, many of them were children.

He employed a variety of birds and other animals to create awareness in the importance of environment protection.

Puentespina, who finished his veterinary medicine at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, was also instrumental in the conservation works in saving the critically-endangered Philippine Eagle particularly in the early 1990s.

Philippine Eagle Foundation executive director Dennis Salvador acknowledged Puentespina’s contribution in saving the Philippine Eagle particularly in providing medical services.

“This was particularly instrumental when a number of our eagles were hit with trichomoniasis back in the early 90s. He had also helped nurse injured eagles back to health, allowing us to release them back to the wild, “Salvador recalled.

Fellow veterinarian Bayani Vandenroeck acknowledged Puentespina’s contribution in the industry particularly in the field of wildlife conservation.

“Dr. Bo was one of my mentors early on in my career, not only in companion animal practice but especially as a wildlife veterinarian,” said Vandenbroeck, who also graduated from UP Los Baños.

He added that there are many other veterinarians also whom Puentespina has inspired to save wildlife and fight for the environment.

In 2017, he established the Davao Thermo Biotech Corporation, a large-scale biodegradables-to-fertilizer in 2017 that employs Hyperthermophilic Composting Technology, which originated in Japan, to produce biofertilizers.

He continued his advocacy work for the environment through this new project by encouraging waste segregation down to the household level.

Puentespina launched the The Yellow Drum Project, which aims to divert biodegradable waste even on the household level from the landfill to their composting plant.

“It is a campaign to raise awareness on proper waste segregation; that the waste we segregate, especially biowaste, does not end up in the landfill but instead to a composting plant where we can compost them and convert them to biofertilizer,” explained Puentespina in previous interviews.

Engr. Diego Tautho, chief executive officer of Ridge to Reef, also expressed sadness on the passing of Puentespina saying: thank you for sharing to us your advocacies, including how you turn a 50-ton biowaste from various sources into valuable soil conditioners and bio-fertilizers.”

Tautho and his firm had worked with the late veterinarian to develop a more sustainable solution to address solid waste problems.

He described Puentespina’s technology as a “definitive solution to biodegradable wastes.”