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Bill imposes stiffer penalties against wildlife exploitation

A lawmaker has filed a bill imposing stiffer penalties against the exploitation of
wildlife species and their respective habitats to stop its illegal trade, which has worsened
the conservation status of the country’s endemic species.
Rep. Ann Hofer (nd !istrict, "amboanga #ibugay$ said House %ill &'() seeks to
amend Republic Act (RA$ )*&+ or the ,ildlife Resources -onservation and .rotection
Act by providing additional prohibited acts and increasing their penalties for improved
protection and conservation of wildlife.
Hofer said the continued illegal trade of wildlife, locally and internationally, has
worsened the conservation status of the country’s endemic species, which led to the
dwindling population in the wild.
/0n fact, wildlife offenders have become more bra1en in their illegal trade as
illustrated by cases like the apprehension of a foreign fisherfolk who had at least 22
individual live and dead pawikan species in their vessel,3 she said.
Hofer cited another case that involves the discovery of a '24foot container van in
5orth Harbor filled with stuffed .awikan, dried black corals, and other marine life.
Hofer said there is a pressing need to increase the deterrent aspect of the law and
improve protective measures because violators are not only targeting individual wildlife
but whole populations as well.
6he bill amends #ection + of the ,ildlife Act which reads that /Any person who
shall induce another or conspire to commit any of the following illegal acts or suffer their
workers to commit any of the same, shall be liable in the same manner as the one actually
performing the act.3
#ection + further states that it shall be unlawful for any person to exploit wildlife
resources and their habitats or undertake acts such as which cause death to wildlife
species.
6he bill prohibits treasure4hunting and prospecting, engagement in kaingin, or
causing forest or bush fires, establishing or introducing any exotic species, which are
detrimental to endemic species.
6he bill imposes a penalty of not more than * years and a fine of not more than .*
million on any person who inflicts or undertakes illegal acts against wildlife species listed
as critical.
NR # 3627B
OCT. 22, 2014
%ut if such illegal act is inflicted or undertaken against more than one head of such
species, imprisonment of not more than 2 years and a fine of not more than . million
shall be imposed.
6he bill calls for the creation of the -ritical Habitat 7anagement 8ffice (-H78$
to be headed by a -ritical Habitat #uperintendent and to be established in each !95R
(!epartment of 9nvironment and 5atural Resources$ regional and or field office having
designated critical habitat areas.
6he -ritical Habitat 7anagement 8ffice shall head the protection of the critical
habitat, in coordination with the local government units (:;<s$ and other concerned
groups and shall have a complement staff, supported by wildlife enforcement officers. (=2$
mvip