THE Philippines, home to the world famous but critically-endangered “Tamaraw,” has been losing some P50 billion worth of revenue each year to illegal wildlife trade (IWT).
What’s more worrying is the fact that the people, particularly those in the impoverished countryside, run the risk of losing their livelihoods, communities and their habitats.
It includes revenue that should have been paid by illegal wildlife collectors and traders, the damage to their habitats and the market value of the resources involved.
Of course, it is heartening to note that the Philippine government has reaffirmed its commitment to combat illegal wildlife trade and protect and conserve biodiversity.
During the recently-concluded 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, Congresswoman Josephine Ramirez-Sato bared the nation’s push for “Bayanihan for Collective and Connected Actions to Combat IWT.”
Held at Evolution, Battersea Park in London, England, the conference convened a global coalition against the highly-lucrative but illegal wildlife trade.
The lady solon lamented that “despite our ardent efforts to protect the Tamaraw and its habitat, it is still among the endangered species, as it is poached for its meat.”
The Tamaraw is found only in the island of Mindoro (Occidental and Oriental), which is inhabited by Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, Tagalogs, Batanguenos, Visayans, Bicolanos and a sprinkling of indigenous people.
As a known environmentalist and wildlife protector in this natural resources-rich nation, Sato headed the Philippine delegation to the London Conference.
We share the view of the hard-working and well-meaning lawmaker that there’s a need to work in unison to protect wildlife by strengthening the fight against IWT.