One hundred three trainees from 61 local governments in Visayas and Mindanao participated in the recently concluded Webinar on Wildlife Laws held from September to October 2020. Of this number, 44 trainees came from 31 local government units (LGUs) in Region 7 and another 59 trainees came from 30 LGUs in Caraga Region. The webinars were held on September 28-October 2, 2020 and October 19-23, 2020 for Caraga and Region 7, respectively.
The participants represented both the executive and legislative offices that are tasked to oversee or manage the agriculture, environment, natural resources, and disaster risk mitigation sectors of local governments.
The webinar aimed to equip participants with sufficient knowledge of substantive laws and appropriate skills to respond to rising cases of illegal wildlife trade (IWT) in the country.
Forester Modesto Lagumbay, Jr., Enforcement Division Chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Caraga, emphasized the need for increased collaboration between the DENR and LGUs in detecting and stopping IWT. He said that for a long time, the government’s focus had been centered on fighting illegal logging.
For Forester Eduardo Inting, Jr., Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services of DENR Region 7, it would impossible for the DENR alone to stop IWT. DENR, he said, needs the support of local governments to stop this illegal activity.
DENR Assistant Secretary for Climate Change Ricardo L. Calderon asked local governments to pass ordinances that strengthen action against wildlife crimes. He promised DENR’s longstanding commitment to provide legal and technical support for LGUs to implement the Wildlife Act.
The trainings were organized by Combating Environmental Organized Crime in the Philippines, a three-year project funded by the sixth Global Environment Facility (GEF) and executed and implemented by the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and Asian Development Bank. The project aims to combat environmental organized crime in the Philippines through legal and institutional reforms, capacity building in the full law enforcement chain, and reduction of demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife parts and derivatives. (CIWT/ Garie Rigor)