‘Pogi points’ for task force as DENR chief cites its award-winning efforts

Published February 22, 2021, 3:56 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Talk about earning “pogi points”.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy A. Cimatu hailed on Monday, Feb. 22 the inter-agency task force dubbed Philippine Operations Group on Ivory and Illegal Wildlife or POGI for winning the prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu (RTVM / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Cimatu described the award as a “testimony of the continuing commitment of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on upholding its mandate of protecting, conserving, and managing the environment and natural resources for the present and future generations.”

“This serves as another feather on the cap of the agency on environmental law enforcement,” the DENR chief said.

Given by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the award is won by individuals and/or government organizations or teams that demonstrate excellence and outstanding leadership in enforcement of national laws to combat transboundary environmental crime.

During the nomination period from June 2019 to May 2020, Task Force POGI successfully apprehended high-profile traffickers and confiscated valuable contraband.

Its highlight axcomplishment came in August 2019 when the task force arrested Sharon Jonjon Lim, a notorious online wildlife trader who had eluded arrest for five years. Seized from him were 13 rare animals worth around $5,000 or around P250,000.

Task force chairman, Usec. Ernesto D. Adobo. Jr. received the award in a virtual ceremony.

“We are humbled and deeply grateful that our collective efforts and initiatives in combating environmental crimes, particularly crimes against wildlife, are recognized by no less than international experts from the United Nations and its partner agencies,” Adobo said.