April 19, 2020 Sunday
MANILA, 20 April 2020 — Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda today urged national law enforcement units and local government officials to strictly implement laws on Philippine wildlife protection and conservation amid the escalating threats of biodiversity loss and the global pandemic due to zoonotic diseases and climate change.
Citing the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES), Legarda said that without intervention from governments all over the world to halt wildlife trade and unsustainable use of remaining resources, about one million species of plants and animals will be at risk of extinction.
According to the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2015-2028, the Philippines counts a significant number of endangered and threatened species like the tamaraw, tarsier, and Philippine eagle, and almaciga and waling-waling plants.
“Let us be reminded that every species has a role to play in the web of life. If we do not protect biodiversity, the web will soon disintegrate and we will never be spared from the effects of it,” Legarda said.
Legarda cited three important policies to protect Philippine wildlife from extinction due to illegal wildlife trade, deforestation and impacts of climate change. These are Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001; Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018; and Republic Act No. 9729 or the Climate Change Act of 2009, which she principally authored and sponsored.
RA 9147 regulates the collection and trade of wildlife, especially protecting threatened or exotic species under domestic law pursuant to international conventions. RA 11038 aims to establish a legal basis for local communities and other stakeholders to participate in the management and protection of protected areas. RA 9729, which also created the Climate Change Commission, promotes key development investments in climate-sensitive sectors such as water resources, agriculture, forestry, coastal and marine resources, health and infrastructure to ensure the achievement of national sustainable development goals.
“Addressing the threat of species extinction, habitat loss, and climate change requires decisive leadership alongside bold and far-reaching initiatives from all of us. While there is still time, we need to strictly implement these environmental laws to sustain our remaining species from extinction and let them prosper for our future generations,” Legarda said.