3 Foreigners Arrested for Illegal Possession of Endangered Tree Species

Three5-17 press release - 3 foreigners arrested for illegal possession of endangered tree species resized foreigners were arrested last week by the joint team of National Bureau of Investigations (NBI), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers in a hotel here in Davao City for illegal possession of endangered tree species. 
 
A Cambodian national and two other Malaysian nationals were caught by surprise when operatives from the NBI XI and officials from DENR XI and BI XI came to their hotel room last May 10, 2018. The three were arrested for violation of Section 77 of Presidential Decree 705 as amended by Executive Order No. 277, and Executive Order No. 23 or the Moratorium in the Cutting of Natural Grown Tree Species. 
 
In their possession are 13 kilos of agarwood wedges, locally known as Lapnisan, an endangered tree species, which the three admitted to have bought in Mati City last May 3, 2018 amounting to twenty thousand pesos. Cambodian Mot Tahear and Malaysians Muhamad Isa Bin Mohd Tahir and Ahmad Azim Bin Mat Rahim came to Davao to buy Agarwood. Tahear said that before they went to the Philippines, they met the dealer through Facebook and got acquainted with the latter for only 2 weeks. 
 
Tahear then made businesses with the dealer and came to Davao City with his son Muhamad and nephew Ahmad, who were assured that it will not cause them any problem especially with the Philippine authorities. He said that they have no idea that it is illegal in the Philippines to buy or possess Agarwood since they have not encountered any problems when they purchased it in neighboring Asian countries. 
 
Before the operation, officers from the DENR positively identified the samples obtained by the NBI as agarwood. Extracts from these trees are known to be used in perfumes and concoctions. It can relieve pains and can also prevent infection of open wounds. It is also used in the manufacture of bath soap and is known to treat cancer. 
 
First grade agarwood is one of the most expensive natural raw material in the world. In 2010, the price for superior pure material was as high as 100,000 US dollars per kilogram. However, under the Conservation on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Agarwood is listed in Appendix II which are species not necessarily threatened with extinction but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
 
The joint operation is part of the on-going anti-illegal logging campaign of DENR through the Task Force Against Environmental Crimes with support coming from the NBI, PNP, AFP, DILG and other law enforcement agencies.

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SMARTSeas Partners’ Forum Held

10-9 smartseas phTo provide a venue to exchange experiences, innovative ideas and community-based initiatives to enhance effectiveness of the marine protected areas (MPAs), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines and Global Environment Facility (GEF) are currently conducting a three-day SMARTSeas PH Project Partner’s Forum at the Ritz Hotel at Garden Oases, Davao City.

SMARTSeas PH Project is a five-year project that aims to strengthen the conservation, protection and management of key marine biodiversity areas in the Philippines. It also includes the establishment of biodiversity-friendly enterprise as sustainable livelihood to coastal communities.

Anchored on the theme “People and the Sea”, the forum which will run from October 9-11, 2018, is participated in by the MPA managers and practitioners from SMARTSeas project sites, partners from the local and national government agencies, civil society organizations, academic, research institutions, and private sector working on the protection and conservation of the coastal and marine environment. Read more...

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