City of San Fernando, Pampanga – A joint wildlife enforcement operation by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-3) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Bulacan recently yielded more than 100 illegally- traded animal, including two endangered species, environment authorities here revealed.
According to Roger Encarnacion, DENR- Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) based in Guiguinto, Bulacan, a composite team from DENR and NBI Bulacan district office conducted the buy-bust operation after receiving information that wildlife species were being illegally traded in the Bocaue public market in Binang 2nd.
“We have been monitoring these activities for months now until we confirmed the illegal trade of wildlife is happening. This is a very clear violation of our wildlife protection and conservation law”, he said.
The suspects were identified as Alexander dela Cruz and Demetrio Garcia, both from Malolos in Bulacan, who attempted to sell a Blue-naped parrot (Tanygnathus lucionensis) and a Palawan hill myna (Gracula religiosa) for P2,000 each to an uncover NBI agent during the entrapment operation.
In a certification issued by Encarnacion disclosed that the two suspects have no authority to collect, possess, transport and or trade wildlife species.
Both species are listed “endangered” in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), said Encarnacion.
Francisco Milla, Jr., director of DENR in Central Luzon said that the illegal possession and trading of such endangered species is a violation of Section 27 (paragraph e and f) of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
“The penalty for such violation under Section 28 of RA 9147 carries a sentence of imprisonment of maximum two (2) years and a fine of maximum two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000)”, he explained.
He urged the public to report to the nearest DENR office or law enforcement agency of suspected illegal wildlife trade.
More than P73,000 in cash were also discovered from the suspects from the proceeds of illegal wildlife trade. The amount was seized and will be used as evidence in filing cases in violation of wildlife law.
In the same entrapment, five (5) other individuals were arrested for the illegal trading of various bird species. 112 birds composed of budgies, cockatiels, lovebirds, sparrow, munia and ring necked doves were seized from the suspects.
The illegal wildlife traders were identified as Demetrio Garcia and Valentino Dimarucut from Bulacan; Ronie Durrango and Luisito Pangilinan from Nueva Ecija; and Divino Chumacera from Bataan.
In a separate certification issued by Encarnacion showed that the suspects have no permit to collect, possess, transport and/ or trade wildlife, including its derivative and/ or by- products
Trading such animals which are categorized as “other wildlife species” without securing proper permits from the DENR is also a violation of Section 27 (paragraph e and f) of RA 9147 but carries a maximum penalty of one (1) month imprisonment and a fine of up to twenty thousand pesos (P20,000).
The seized wildlife species were turned over to the DENR wildlife rescue center in Quezon City while criminal case was filed against the suspects in the Office of the Prosecutor in Malolos City for violation of wildlife act.
Since 2015, the DENR has already confiscated 34 various species of reticulated pythons, long-tailed macaques, pond turtles, osprey, monitor lizard and owls.