The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has seized 20 kilos or P3.2 million worth of agarwood in two separate operations.
DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF) and the NBI-Environmental Crime Division conducted operations in Pasig City and Cainta, Rizal last June 8.
Four suspects, identified as Ramil Ong, Bernie Bagay, Rizal Mofar, and Arjhun Gaviola, were arrested for the illegal transportation of the said high-value tree species.
“This clearly sends out the message that the government’s campaign against environmental offenders remains unrelenting despite a pandemic that is wreaking havoc worldwide,” Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said.
The four suspects were charged with violations of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources and Protection Act. They are detained at the NBI detention facility in Manila.
Agarwood is one of the most expensive raw materials used in perfumery, costing at least P160,000 per kilo in the Philippines.
It is extracted from host trees locally known as Lapnisan and Lanete, which are both included in the national list of threatened Philippine plants. —AAC
MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu warned illegal wildlife traders that they are being monitored by the agency’s wildlife enforcers even amid the quarantine.
“Mobility restrictions may cause some deterrence to our wildlife enforcers, but these shall not stop them from implementing environmental laws to protect our natural resources,” Secretary Cimatu of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.
The official made such a warning following the arrest of a certain Benjie Saunar for illegal possession and selling of two Umbrella cockatoos (Cacatua alba) in a buy-bust operation conducted by the DENR’s Environmental Protection and Enforcement Task Force (EPETF) on April 28.
The operatives also recovered a Palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) from Saunar’s possession.
Prior to the operation, the suspect was monitored by the DENR- EPETF operatives to have been illegally selling wildlife species online.
He was apprehended in an entrapment operation conducted by the DENR EPETF with the Manila Police District Station 8 and the Manila District Anti-Cybercrime Team.
The suspect has undergone inquest proceedings at the Manila City Prosecutors Office and is charged for violating Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act of 2001.
As of May 3, the wildlife species, along with other paraphernalia, such as the motorcycle and cellphone used by Saunar, are under the custody of the DENR-NCR Office.
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project can be postponed. However, workers in the said project might lose their jobs.
The recent dumping of dolomite in Manila Bay drew ire from netizens saying the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic should be the government’s priority.
DENR Spokesperson Jonas Leones said the budget can be allotted to the COVID-19 response through supervening events; however, Leones stressed that all the budget cannot be allotted to the pandemic response alone.
“Pwede naman iyon kung talagang ganoon ang situation kaya lang hindi naman pupwedeng, sa akin personally, hindi naman pupwedeng lahat ng budget ay ilagay din natin doon (It can be done if that is the situation, but personally, we cannot put all the budget in the [COVID-19] response),” he said.
Leones reiterated the rehabilitation project has already been planned and there will be workers that will be affected if the project is suspended.
“Kung ititigil natin lahat ito, wala na tayong accomplishment wala pa ring work ang mga tao rito(If we will suspend this, we won’t have accomplishments and the people here will lose their jobs),” he said.
The Department reiterates that the project should push through despite the criticisms from various groups.
The Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project is around 50%-60% complete, it added. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)
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