House panel OKs bill seeking heavier penalties for wildlife abuse
MANILA, Philippines — A committee in the House of Representatives has approved a measure seeking to impose heavier penalties on the exploitation and abuse of wildlife in the country.
The House committee on natural resources has approved a consolidated bill of the five measures filed in the lower chamber calling for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats, and imposes penalties for violations.
The consolidated bill seeks to replace Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
Under the consolidated bill, the imposable penalties for serious offenses such as illegal killing of wildlife are imprisonment of 12 years and one day to 20 years and a fine of P200,000 to P2 million.
The minimum punishment for minor infractions are a prison term of one month and one day, plus a fine of P20,000.
This is heavier than the penalties imposed under the current law, which imposes maximum penalties of imprisonment of six years and one day to 12 years, plus a fine of P100,000 to P2 million.
The lightest penalty under the current law is a prison term of 10 days and a P200 fine.
The consolidated bill also designates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) , Department of Agriculture, and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, in the case of Palawan, as implementers of the proposed law.
Authors of the consolidated bill include Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Sato, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas.
Rodriguez underscored that the current law “has to be updated, improved and strengthened to meet and address the demands and problems we have today.”
“I am happy because of the penalties. We are prescribing longer prison terms and higher fines for those who abuse our wildlife, especially endangered species,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
“There are 133 terrestrial mammals, 230 birds, 244 reptiles, and 97 amphibian species, and 120 fishes that can be found only here,” he added.
The House leader stressed that the nation’s flora and fauna and their habitats “should be protected from overexploitation, destruction, fragmentation, culling, poaching, hunting, pollution, and climate change for us and for future generations as well.”
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