By Charissa M. Luci-Atienza
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been urged to run after illegal wildlife traders in the country.
Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato, a member of the House Committee on Ecology, asked DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu to intensify the campaign against wildlife trafficking.
She made the call after the Philippine National Police (PNP) recovered 70 dead marine turtles, locally called “pawikan,” in the northern Palawan town of Dumaran, last week.
Citing news reports, she expressed concern that the turtles were discovered in a large motorboat off the shore of Barangay Bacao.
Two individuals identified only as Rico Gonzales and Kim Aristotiles from Taytay have been slapped with charges for violation of the Wildlife Act.
“I commend the PNP for this successful operation. We need to intensify the campaign against wildlife trafficking and go after unscrupulous individuals who mercilessly hunt our already threatened wildlife,” Sato said.
She said Cimatu should use his military expertise and experience as a former AFP chief of staff to combat the rampant illegal wildlife trade.
“I appeal to Secretary Cimatu to do something to protect our precious wildlife, too. Prevention is always better than cure. We can save them from wildlife trafficking,” she said.