DENR automates permit issuance on species trading

Published December 9, 2021, 1:29 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has automated permit issuance for the trading of certain endangered species, such as flora and fauna, in a move to enhance global trade transparency.

Such a move, according to the DENR, will prevent illegal trade and sustainably develop biodiversity over the long term.

In compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Philippines has started issuing permits for the trading of flora and fauna electronically.

The electronic permitting system – available through eCITESPH.com – will be integrated into the Philippines’ national single window system.

As such, international trade of threatened animals and plants will easily be monitored and controlled.

“The system will improve control of international trade in endangered species. Automation of CITES processes will help enforce regulations, increase transparency, and facilitate processing and electronic data exchange with customs and other agencies,” said Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Assistant Director Amelita Ortiz.

“Electronic information exchange will reduce opportunities for corruption and the use of fraudulent documents in the trading of endangered species,” she added.

There are more than 38,700 species including 5,900 species of animals and 32,800 species of plants are protected under the CITES, an international treaty signed by the Philippines and was entered into force in 1975.

Controversial ivory trade. Credit—Deutsche Welle

Each year, the BMB issues more than 1,500 permits on a tedious manual basis.

But the new automated permit issuance system eases burden of manual work. This is aligned with Republic Act 11032 of 2018 or “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery.” The DENR has been tapping information technology to enhance its capacity building to produce experts in wildlife trade.

To be specific, BMB has introduced the eTraining Course on Basic Wildlife Law Enforcement (BWLE) and the Wildlife Philippines Podcast.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said these learning platforms should “enable the DENR to uphold its mandate of educating the people about the country’s wildlife resources despite the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.” This project is under the DENR-Asian Development Bank/ Global Environment Facility Project on Combating Environmental Organized Crime in the Philippines.

 
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