6,000 bats recovered from four illegal poachers in Bulacan

Published October 18, 2021, 5:32 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Four illegal wildlife poachers were arrested after yielding more than 6,000 Wrinkle-lipped bats (Chaerephon plicatus)—some of them already dead—in an operation conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other agencies in San Miguel, Bulacan, the agency reported Monday, Oct. 18.

Executive director of DENR-Central Luzon Executive Director Paquito Moreno, Jr. identified the suspects Rolando Santiago, 40; Reynante Donito Gonzales, 44; Rejie Mangahas, 28; and Ronald Santiago, 39, who were caught in possession of the vulnerable species worth P90,000.

They were arrested inside the Biak-na-Bato National Park.

DENR said it already filed criminal charges against the suspects for violating Section 20 (a) of the Republic Act (RA) No. 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) law as amended by RA 11038 or the Expanded NIPAS law.

“Hunting, destroying, disturbing or mere possesion of any plants or animals or products derived therefrom without permit from the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) are strictly prohibited inside the protected area,” Paquito said in filing the charges.

Section 21 of RA 7586 imposes a penalty of maximum of P500,000 fine, exclusive of the damage value of wildlife, and a maximum of six years imprisonment.

According to the DENR, an undetermined number of dead bats were immediately buried to prevent potential spread of infection and zoonotic disease, while at least 100 bats that were still alive were released back into the wild.

DENR warned the public that it would hunt down people involved in illegal wildlife trade and destruction of protected areas and penalize them under existing environmental laws, rules and regulations.