By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Close to a hundred frontline wildlife enforcement officers have been given recognition for their unwavering commitment to thwart illegal wildlife trade during the country’s celebration of the World Wildlife Day.
The Wildlife Law Enforcement Awards 2020, led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), recognized a total of 98 wildlife law enforcement officers from various agencies and organizations nationwide last March 3.
The awardees were from the National Bureau Investigation-Environmental Crime Division (19), Bureau of Customs (21), Philippine National Police (46), 28th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (9), non-government organization (1), and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Protection Group (2).
The number of awardees from the PNP were broken down as follows: Manila Maritime Police Station (10), Tagaytay Component City Police Station (6), Manila Police District-Station 7 (8), Butuan City Police Station (5), PNP Aviation Security Group (4), Mati City Police Station (12), and Davao Oriental Police Office (1).
DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo Jr. said it was fitting to celebrate the World Wildlife Day by honoring the exemplary individuals who have been on the frontline of the fight against wildlife crime.
“The department has never wavered in its commitment to stop illegal wildlife trade, which is one of the most important and urgent part of our work to protect the iconic Philippine Eagle and other endemic wildlife species that are facing threat of extinction,” Adobo said.
“Let it not be forgotten lest disregarded the valiant efforts of wildlife enforcers, and we see their lives to protect our wildlife resources on poaching, trafficking and overexploitation so that the future generations to come will be able to see the rich biodiversity we still enjoy today,” he added.
During the annual celebration of the World WIldlife Day, the DENR through its Biodiversity Management Bureau, confers recognition to its partners who have valuable contributions in the enforcement of wildlife laws, rules and regulations.
Since its inception in 2015, a total of 422 men and women, who defended the voiceless wildlife species against illegal wildlife traders, have been recognized by the DENR.
World Wildlife Day is celebrated every March 3 to mark the day the landmark Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was adopted in 1973. This year’s theme was “Sustaining all life on earth.”