Lawmaker Wants Stricter Implementation of Wildlife Protection Laws

Senator Francis Escudero is calling for stricter implementation of laws on the conservation and protection of Philippine wildlife amid escalating threats to the country’s biodiversity.

“It is alarming that the country is among the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots, and yet we do not manifest the urgency of action to preserve and protect what we have left,” Escudero said.

Hotspots are defined as geographical areas where concentrations of endemic species are undergoing exceptional loss.

Aside from being a biodiversity hotspot, the Philippines is also counted among the World’s 10 Most Threatened Forest Hotspots, according to Conservation International.

“The law is very clear about conserving wildlife resources and habitats, as stipulated by RA (Republic Act) 9147. We will find out, in a series of hearings, if the existing laws and regulations are being strictly implemented, as they should be,” Escudero said.

He said laws are already in place to ensure intervention measures to protect and preserve the country’s wildlife heritage.

“The big question is: are they being implemented or are they being ignored in favor of personal and economic gain?” he said.

Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, consolidated in today’s hearing all 29 resolutions, mostly authored by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, seeking legislative action to address the challenges of implementation of relevant wildlife protection laws.

Many of the proposals, such as Senate Resolution Nos. 342, 1347, 1529 and 1535, called for intervention to save the Philippine Eagle. Others sought to address illegal trading and exploitation of wildlife resources.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reported that the Philippines has lost a considerable number of species in the past decades due to the destruction of their natural habitats caused by illegal logging, mining, quarrying and kaingin.

Other threats to biodiversity were water and air pollution, oil spills, wildlife poaching and illegal trade, and introduction of invasive species.

The DENR said the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red-flagged 38 Philippine species of fauna and 55 flora species as those that have extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. Among these are the tarsiers, Philippine eagle, Philippine freshwater crocodile, Philippine turtles, almaciga, waling-waling and camia.

The senator said his committee will strive to come up with stronger legislative actions that will work with current national and local initiatives for wildlife protection and conservation.

“We need a collective response to address the various threats to our biodiversity. Ecological loss eventually leads to economic loss that Filipinos will surely regret,” Escudero said./; FB: senchizescudero; Twitter: @saychiz @chiznewsalert


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