DENR-6 strengthens enforcement of Wildlife Act

DENR-6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla Jr. delivers his message to all participants during the 9th Training of Trainers (ToT9) on the Application of the Wildlife Law Enforcement Manual of Operations.

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 recently hosted the “9th Training of Trainers (ToT9) on the Application of the Wildlife Law Enforcement Manual of Operations” among national government agencies.

In collaboration with the DENR 6–Enforcement Division, the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Protect Wildlife Project, the ToT9 was conducted with participants from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), PNP-Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Philippine Navy (PN), Local Government Units (LGUs), Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the DENR’s provincial and community offices.

ToT9 was aimed at enabling the participants to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the Republic Act 9147 also known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.

They are also to disseminate the new rules and procedures for environmental cases and the application of the Manual of Operations in the enforcement of Wildlife Act.

Participants came from the different government agencies involved in implementing the Wildlife Act and work with the DENR in pursuing biodiversity conservation.

“This training came timely since we are strengthening the enforcement of environmental laws. Thus, it is necessary to empower our field personnel with the knowledge and skills they needed to enforce the provisions of the Wildlife Act. This will result to a more conserved and protected wildlife resources in the region,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

During the ToT9, the participants are taught how to explain the important provisions of Wildlife Act; how to  conduct wildlife species identification and proper handling; how to identify and explain all steps to be taken by an enforcer in effecting detection of wildlife crime, arrest of offenders and seizure of items and effects of wildlife crimes.

The Fisheries Code as amended and Fisheries Enforcement Protocol were also taught to the participants, with emphasis on penalties and rules on endangered marine wildlife.

In strengthening the enforcement of the law, the participants also learned the basic steps in monitoring and investigating wildlife cybercrime, and has gained knowledge and skills on proper documentation of wildlife crime scene, including collection, handling and preservation of evidence. They also conducted a mock trial on the steps for application of search warrant and to experience how to testify in court.

Atty. Edward Lorenzo, a USAID representative, underscored the threat of wildlife trafficking in the country during the training.

“The Philippines plays a very important role when it comes to wildlife trafficking in the region. It is both a poaching area and a major transhipment point,” he said.

The training is seen to boost the DENR’s efforts in the region to curb illegal wildlife activities such as poaching and wildlife trading to promote sustainable biodiversity management. It is also in strong support to Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s Enhanced Biodiversity Conservation, which is one of his ten priority programs. (DENR-6)