Possession of endangered wild plants is punishable by up to 12 yrs, P1M fine — DENR

Marje Pelayo   •   October 14, 2020   •   1102

MANILA, Philippines — Many Filipinos are turning to gardening to relieve the stress, anxiety and the boredom of being locked down for months since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak early this year.

The craze created so-called “plant parents,” “plantitos” and “plantitas” who prefer plants, instead of animals, as their home pets.

The pandemic has introduced to this generation some of the rarest and the most exotic plants found in the Philippines. 

But authorities are reminding the public to be aware of the plant species they have at home. 

According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), around 1,000 species of plants are currently in the agency’s list of endangered plants.

Taking these plant species from their natural habitat is against the law as they play important roles in maintaining ecological balance in the environment they live in.

DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau Director and Assistant Secretary Ricardo Calderon in an interview with UNTV said wild plants provide shelter or food to wild animals and insects which also contribute to the balance in the forest and control the spread of certain viruses.

The official warned of grave consequences if these natural habitats of wild animals are destroyed.

‘Lahat ng mga zoonotic diseases, because ang mga habitat ng mga hayop na ito ay nagalaw o na-disrupt, ang tendency ay lumabas sila sa kanilang natural habitat (Zoonotic diseases [could emerge], because when habitats of wild animals are destroyed or disrupted, they tend to move out of their natural habitats), Calderon explained.

“Nagkakaroon sila ng interaction sa mga domestic animals so nata-transfer ang mga virus na ito (It brings them into contact with domestic animals and and transfers the virus to the latter),” he added.

DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau has tightened its security in the country’s ports to combat smuggling of plant wildlife and critically endangered plant species. 

This pandemic has seen a large variety of plants surfacing on the market.

Calderon said they understand that plants can be a source of additional income in this time of crisis but the public should be aware of certain responsibilities.

“We support this kind of hobby or small business as long as it is compliant, as far as existing laws are concerned,” the official said.

The DENR encourages the public to report poachers of endangered plant wildlife.

The list can be viewed in DENR’s official Facebook Page.

Recently, some owners of endangered plant wildlife in Zamboanga City voluntarily handed over their plants to the DENR.

Possession, collection, or poaching of these critically endangered fauna is punishable by 12 years imprisonment and a fine of up to P1-million pesos  in violation of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, the DENR said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DENR calls on sea vessel owners to explain dumping of waste in Manila Bay

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will summon the owners of sea vessels that dock at the Navotas Fish Port in Baseco, Manila through the Anti-Pollution Task Force.

The DENR, along with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), conducted an inspection at the Navotas Fish Port on Friday (June 4) to check for metal content, fecal coliform, and grease present in the water.

According to DENR Usec. Benny Antiporda, several sea vessels docked at the Fish Port are dumping waste in Manila Bay.

Antiporda said the department will summon the concerned individuals to explain the issue.

“We will talk to them immediately after this kasi ipasu-summon natin sila sa Anti-Pollution Task Force para magkaroon ng dialogue between sea vessels and the government,” he said.

According to the captain of one of the cargo vessels, Angelito Balitaan, there are instances that they would throw waste in Manila Bay because their vessel does not have a sewage system and they do not have enough funds for sewage repairs.

“Starting na natuto ako nang ganiyan iyan na kinagisnan ko, minana na din iyan wala pang implementation ng mga sewage sewage,” he said.

Meanwhile, the test results of the water samples will be released in a week.  AAC (with reports from JP Nuñez)

DENR warns traders illegally selling wildlife species online

Marje Pelayo   •   May 7, 2021

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.

Plantitos, plantitas unite: DENR offers free fruit, vegetable seedlings to those in need

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 21, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has opened a ‘Community Pan-tree’ that gives out free fruit and vegetable seedlings to those in need.

The DENR said it was inspired by the community pantries that are currently trending throughout the county.

This is why, in celebration of Earth Day 2021, the department will be giving away seedlings of fruit-bearing trees and vegetables.

It also encourages individuals and groups who share the passion for urban greening to also donate plants in support of the project.

In celebration of Earth Day 2021 and to help Metro Manilans cope with the stress caused by the pandemic through urban…

Posted by DENR National Capital Region on Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Community Pan-Tree will open on Thursday, 22 April 2021, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the DENR-NCR Technical Services Office in North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.

The DENR also reminds individuals to bring their own pots if available and adhere to health and safety protocols. AAC

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