DENR suspends forest products, wildlife transport
MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has temporarily suspended the transportation of all forest products and wildlife throughout the country to contain the spread of the corona virus disease (COVID-19).
The DENR is taking this precautionary measure considering recent research that links the origin of COVID-19 with illegal wildlife trade. According to a report by TRAFFIC, a leading non-government organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants, there appears to be a strong likelihood of connection between zoonotic transmission of disease and the trade of wild animals. While the origin of the virus is still not clear, it is believed that it may have originated from bats and may have made the jump to people through a yet to be identified intermediary host in a wet market in Wuhan, China.
Three Major Programs
Protected Area Development and Management
This Program covers the main in-situ measures to conserve biodiversity within and adjacent to protected areas pursuant to Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrate Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 as amended by Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS (ENIPAS) Act f 2018. The passage also led to the legislation of additional 94 Protected Areas, making a total of 244 Protected Areas composed of about 7.8M hectares (107 legislated; 13 proclaimed; 124 remaining initial components). It will ensure that the current NIPAS and ENIPAS coverage is rationalized by maintaining and prioritizing those with high biodiversity values while providing appropriate governance regime for the protection of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) such as through Local Conservation Areas (LCAs) with the LGU concerned and through Indigenous Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs).
Management of Coastal and Marine Resources/Areas
This program focuses on the sustainable management of coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove stands, soft bottom areas (mudflats), plankton community, and water quality of coastal areas. These coastal ecosystems are important in the completion of life cycles of a wide variety of commercially and ecologically important marine life which support livelihood for nearly 60% of Filipinos. Under this Program is the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program (CMEMP) pursuant to DENR Administrative Order 2016-26 which aims to achieve the effective management of the country’s coastal and marine ecosystems thereby increasing their ability to provide ecological goods and services to improve the quality of life of the coastal population particularly ensuring food security, climate change resiliency and disaster risk reduction. It also contributes to the achievement of the PDP and PBSAP targets including international commitments such as the Aichi Targets and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 14 – Life below Water).
Protection and Conservation of Wildlife
This program deals with the conservation and protection of wildlife, and/or maintenance, restoration, and enhancement of their habitats pursuant to Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001. Priority activities under this program are the following: (i) Sustainable wildlife resource use; (ii) management of invasive alien species (IAS); and (iii) Enforcement of wildlife laws, rules and regulations which include the operations/mobilization of Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Units (WTMUs); deputation and mobilization of Wildlife Enforcement Officers (WEOs); operations and maintenance of Wildlife Rescue Centers (WRCs); establishment and management of Critical Habitats; and conservation of threatened wildlife species such as, but not limited to, the marine turtle, dugong (Dugong dugon), tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis), Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), freshwater and saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus mindorensis; Crocodylus porosus), tarsier (Carlito syrichta), Philippine cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), and Visayan spotted deer (Rusa alfredi).
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