THE Philippines has been losing P50 billion worth of revenue each year due to illegal wildlife trade (IWT).
This was stressed by Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine “Nene” Ramirez Sato in affirming the country’s commitment to combat IWT as she urged global leaders to work together to protect and conserve biodiversity.
“The Philippines loses at least P50 billion a year due to IWT alone. These include revenue that should have been paid by illegal wildlife collectors and traders, the market value of the resources involved, the ecological role of the wild-collected resources and the damage to their habitats incurred during poaching,” said Sato.
Delivering the Philippine statement to the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference 2018 at Evolution, Battersea Park, London, Sato declared the country’s push for “Bayanihan for Collective and Connected Actions to combat IWT.”
The London Conference convened a global coalition against IWT as part of a coordinated global effort to develop the valuable work taken forward under Vietnam and Botswana’s leadership at previous conferences and in international fora.
The Philippines is not uniquely troubled by IWT, Sato said, adding that other countries face equally serious threats.
But beyond the numbers and monetary equivalents, Sato expressed alarm more about the increased risks of people losing their livelihoods, communities and their habitats, citing Occidental Mindoro, a province South of Manila, that is home of the famous, but critically-endangered Philippine Tamaraw.
“Despite our ardent efforts to protect the Tamaraw and its habitat, it is still among the endangered species, as it is poached for its meat. While we are seeing a slow increase in its population, its less than 1 thousand count means that more concerted efforts need to be done,” she said.
Sato said combatting IWT is a challenge that each and every country must take up.
“I urge countries in South East Asia to initiate a regional initiative to ensure a collaborative and connected response against IWT,” said Sato, head of the Philippine delegation to the London Conference.