DENR chief wants maximum punishment for wildlife abusers
MANILA, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Sunday called for maximum punishment for habitual violators of environmental laws, following the recent arrest of an illegal wildlife trader who was already caught and charged last year.
“I call on the police, the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) and government prosecutors to make sure this repeat offender of the country’s wildlife protection law will face heftier fine and spend more time in jail,” he said in a statement.
Cimatu was referring to Sharon Jonjon Lim, who was arrested during an entrapment operation on June 6 in Sampaloc, Manila.
Lim was reportedly going to sell two brahminy kites, locally known as “lawin,” for P10,000 each to a police officer who posed as a buyer.
A followup operation in his Santa Mesa home revealed two more raptors, a white-breasted sea eagle and a changeable hawk-eagle. The rescued animals were turned over to the BMB.
Last year, the 45-year-old Lim was also arrested for illegal possession and trade of 13 rare animals, including three peregrine falcons.
He was sentenced to jail time of up to two years, but has applied for probation.
BMB wildlife law enforcer Rogelio Demelletes said being a repeat offender, Lim would no longer be qualified for probation.
At present, there is a pending House bill that proposes stiffer penalties on wildlife crime and is backed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Under the proposed legislation, illegal traders can be jailed for four years and fined between P50,000 to P600,000. The current law mandates jail time of only up to two years and fines ranging between P5,000 to P300,000.
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