DENR cites ‘wildlife warriors’
MANILA, Philippines—For their achievements in seizing poachers and traders of endangered animals, 62 “wildlife warriors,” most of them soldiers and police officers, have been given recognition by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Fifty-nine members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, a barangay (village) chair and two civilians were given medals and commended for their “dedication to fighting wildlife crimes” at the inaugural of the Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife Trade (POGI) Enforcement Awards at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center on Tuesday.
POGI is a multisectoral group organized by the DENR to combat wildlife poaching and illegal trade, particularly of endangered species.
The winners were cited for their contributions to five successful wildlife rescue operations conducted by the DENR in 2013.
Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) Director Theresa Mundita Lim acknowledged the importance of cooperation between the various government agencies in the enforcement of wildlife laws.
“Wildlife enforcement can only be strengthened if we collaborate with our local enforcement agencies,” Lim said in a statement.
“The POGI Awards is our way of thanking these agencies for extending their support to our operations whenever we need their assistance,” she said.
Among those given recognition were members of the POGI team that conducted the July 3 raid on a house in Tondo, Manila, which yielded 109 threatened wildlife species—78 hill mynas, 12 blue-naped parrots, 5 saltwater crocodiles and 14 forest turtles. Only the turtles were rescued alive.
Criminal complaints have been filed against the owner of the house and his associates.
Also cited were members of the POGI team that arrested four persons and seized 178 heads of threatened Palawan species during an operation in Lucena, Quezon, and another operation that led to the confiscation of five monitor lizards and a cloud rat, all threatened species, in Batangas City.
The DENR also awarded Air Force Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino de la Cruz a silver medal for his assistance in the transport of wounded wildlife.
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