The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) reminded the public to follow the law when purchasing wildlife species.
DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu cited Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001 or Republic Act (RA) 9147 as the main legal issues if a person would insist on buying wildlife species to be their pets.
Cimatu issued the statement to the public after 25 tarantulas and 112 spiderlings were seized by the DENR-National Capital Region's (NCR) Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (WTMU-NAIA) for the violation of Section 27 of RA 9147, specifically on the illegal trade of wildlife and relevant policies.
"While RA 9147 comprehensively contains prohibitions and penalties on illegal wildlife possession and trade, the Act also indicates the legal measures of acquiring wildlife. Let us be reminded that the illegal possession of wildlife such as the tarantulas have serious penalties," Cimatu said.
DENR-NCR's Enforcement Division-Surveillance and Intelligence Section Chief Maricar Puno-Sanchez said that before purchasing specific wildlife species, various permissions and paperwork must be reviewed to ensure that they come from legitimate sources.
"When purchasing, ask the trader if he or she has a Wildlife Farm Permit (WFP) that authorizes operation and maintenance of a wildlife breeding farm for conservation, trade and or scientific purposes; or a Certificate of Wildlife Registration (CWR), to ensure that the wildlife is from a legal source," Sanchez said.
She also said that the buyer could not register the particular wildlife with the DENR office and be awarded a Certificate of Wildlife Registration to legitimate possession without a document that proves a lawful source of the wildlife.
"More than anything, the requirements and penalties all boil down for the protection and conservation of our biodiversity, which affects our health," Cimatu said.
Under RA 9147, those who will be found guilty of killing critically endangered wildlife will face penalties, including a sentence of six years and one day to 12 years in prison, and a fine ranging from P100,000 to P1 million.
The penalty varies from two to four years of imprisonment or a fine of P30,000 to P300,000 for hunting. On the other hand, for the trading of wildlife, fine ranges from P5,000 to P300,000
For the mere transport of wildlife, violators will face six months to one-year imprisonment and a fine from P50,000 to P100,000.