ILLEGAL TRADERS OF ENDANGERED WILDLIFE, CAUGHT

                                                                                                                                           

After months of surveillance, two Chinese businessmen and three Filipinos are now facing charges for possession of endangered wildlife.

On the 17th of January 2014, members of the PCSDS Enforcement Team – Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (WTMU), conducted two separate operations on the strength of search warrants issued by Judge Angelo R. Arizala of the Regional Trial Court Branch 52 and Judge Leah Baguyo of the Regional Trial Court Branch 48 of the Province of Palawan

The two Chinese nationals, James Sy and Tony Sy, were charged with violation of Section 27 (f) – collecting, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products and derivatives - of Republic Act 9147 (Wild Life Act). The three Filipinos charged were Joyce Everit Ty, Kent Abriol and Elbert Mendoza.

The first search warrant was served on the morning of the 17th
to James Sy at his residence in Barangay Milagrosa, Puerto Princesa City. The search yielded confiscation of pangolin scales, frozen whole meat of pangolin and several endangered seashells like samong, triton’s trumpet, white-lipped oyster and black-lipped oyster.

The second search conducted in the afternoon of that same day was in a house inside a compound in Barangay Bancao-Bancao allegedly rented by a certain Joyce Ty, the wife of Tony Sy. The team found sacks and boxes filled with endangered shells, sharks fins, dried seahorses, pipefish and turtle scutes ready for transport. They also found ice chests and freezers filled with frozen pangolin meat. Tony Sy was not in the area when the team arrived. Only his worker, Elbert Mendoza, was there. As the WTMU searched the place, Mendoza, operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation, a member of the Barangay Council and several barangay tanods of Barangay Bancao-bancao were present.

As for Kent Abriol, he was caught red-handed by a couple of WTMU operatives as he tried to transport 2 boxes containing 19 heads of frozen pangolin on his tricycle from Tony Sy’s compound to an unknown destination.

ITEM

QUANTITY

Conservation Status

Cassis cornuta (Horned helmet shell)

55 pcs

Endangered

Turbo marmoratus (Marbled turban)

153 pcs

Endangered

Charonia tritonis (Triton’s trumpet)

12 pcs

Endangered

Tridacana sp. (Giant clams)

2 pcs

Endangered

Trochus niloticus (Giant top shell snail)

5,674 pcs

Endangered

Cypraea tigris (Tiger cowrie)

124 pcs

Endangered

Pipefish

11.95 kilograms

 

Pinctada maxima (White lip oyster)

496 pcs

Endangered

Pinctada margaritifera (Black lip oyster)

1 pc

Endangered

Hippocampus sp. (Seahorse)

77 grams

Endangered

Mixed Green turtle and Hawksbill turtle scutes

24.1 kilograms

Critically endangered

Pangolin scales

1/3 kilogram

Endangered

Frozen Pangolin

75 heads

Endangered

The pangolin meat and scales, turtle scutes, seahorses and shells were probably destined for China to be used in culinary delicacies, traditional medicine and handicrafts, according to the investigating team.

The PCSDS did not issue any permits allowing those charged to collect, possess, transport and trade the items seized.

PCSD’S COMMITTEE ON SECURITY AND SAFETY, REACTIVATED

After eight years of pause, the Committee on Security and Safety, which was established by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development in 2005, has been reactivated. It had its 8th committee meeting last February 19, 2014, held at the conference room of the Western Command. Its chairmanship is automatically given to the Commander of Western Command, who at the moment is LTGEN Roy O. Deveraturda.

According to Deveraturda, it is a privilege to work hand-in-hand with other enforcement agencies and civilian action groups in order to combat illegal activities concerning the environment and its natural resources.

 “We really have to protect the environment as we pursue development. We have to go with what we have been prescribed and follow the procedures so we could maintain the sources and the natural provisions given us,” Deveraturda said.

During the meeting, the members of the Committee were briefed on its functions and past accomplishments. They also discussed activities for the 2014 World Wildlife Day and drafting of memorandum of agreement for enforcement protocols.

The Committee’s membership is composed of the following agencies: Western Command, Palawan Provincial Police Office, Naval Forces West, 570th Composite Tactical Wing, Joint Task Force Peacock, 4th Coast Guard District, Provincial Fire Department, PNP-Maritime Palawan, Kilusan Sagip Kalikasan, and the Provincial Board’s Committee on Environment. The PCSD Staff is the Committee’s secretariat.

EVERYBODY IN: 

PROTECTING WILDLIFE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

 
Amidst growing concerns regarding rampant and continuous illegal activities and environmental violations in the province of Palawan, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, through its Committee on Security and Safety, spearheaded the reorganization of the Environmental Enforcement Program (EEP). This recommitment effort was initiated thru the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement held on the 3rd of March 2014.
 
The EEP will be implemented and will operate under the supervision and direction of the PCSD Committee on Security and Safety, chaired by the Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, Commander of Western Command. The Committee shall also be regarded as the Environmental Enforcement Board (EEB). As such, the members of the PCSD Committee on Security and Safety shall also be the members of the EEB.
 
The EEB shall establish the immediate response team from among its members, specifically tasked to coordinate and implement enforcement and IEC related activities. 
 
The members included in the enforcement team are: Western Command, Naval Forces West, 570th Composite Tactical Wing,  PNP-Provincial Office, PNP Maritime – Special Boat Unit, Coast Guard District Palawan-PCG, CIDG-Palawan, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bantay Palawan, DENR-PENRO, BFAR-Palawan, PCSDS, NBI, and Customs. 
 
As for the members included in the Information and Education Campaign Team are the following: PCSDS, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Rresources - Palawan, Bantay Palawan, Palawan NGO Network, Inc. and Environmental Legal Assistance Center.
 
“With the reestablishment of the Environmental Enforcement Program, there will be an institutionalization of the enforcement across the environmental battlefield. This provides for an enforcement network that will work closely in reducing if not totally eradicate environmental violations in the province” said Alex Marcaida, Division Chief of ECAN Environmental Extension and spokesperson of PCSDS.  
 
The objectives of the program are as follows: 
 
1.To monitor the implementation of environmental laws initiated by the Local Government Units and concerned agencies and provide quick response on Apprehension matters;
 
2.To provide, adopt and implement plans relative to the monitoring activities (cited in item 1) consistent with existing laws to carry out the purpose thereof;
 
3.To show presence or “visibility” of environmental enforcement agencies in the area to possibly deter further illegal activities;
 
4.To coordinate closely among members of the EEB in collaboration with concerned government agencies in monitoring all development and environmental activities in the province; and
 
5.To promote and encourage the participation of all sectors, including community mobilization and empowerment, in the protection, conservation and sustainable management of resources in Palawan.
 
With the collective participation of the people, communities, national agencies, LGUs and NGOs, the program will provide immediate action on reported illegal activities involving violations of environmental laws, rules and regulations and information dissemination campaign.