By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
BAGUIO CITY — As a concrete manifestation of their being a protector of the environment, officials of the Bakun town of Benguet adopted a local legislation for the protection of wildlife species and their habitat in the town’s communal forests and watersheds.
To protect the endangered or threatened species, the town ordinance enumerated the prohibited acts as killing and destroying the said species which they enumerated in their introduced ordinance as among those threatened for extinction.
The ordinance identified the following as threatened local species among others, subject for protection:
Fauna: ogsa, also known as makawas, or Philippine brown deer and the bango or laman or bearded pig, buwet or cloud rat, baniyas or monitor lizard, tabao or wild cat, and amkis. Bird species: acop or giant scop-owl, owak or gayang, and gungay or wood pecker.
Flora: Benguet lily, tayu-o or pitcher plant, libu or almaciga, ayosip or blackberry, tibanglan or giant fern, orchids, or lady slippers.
“The provisions of this ordinance shall be enforceable for the protection and conservation of threatened wildlife of flora and fauna found in the Bakun municipality, and including their habitat,” explained in Kankanaey by Sangguniang Bayan member Marcial Tamid-ay.
Exceptions from the prohibitions
The ordinance, however, allowed the use by Bakun indigenous peoples of these threatened species if they are intended for indigenous rituals, when the wildlife is affected with incurable communicable diseases, when it is done to prevent eminent danger to the life of a human being, and when the wildlife is killed or destroyed after it has been used in authorized research or experiment.
The local ordinance, in fact, reiterated national laws and policies which allow for the collection and use of biological resources for scientific research not for commercial purposes. Such allowable collection, though, must seek permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary or his authorized representative and also the free, prior and informed consent from the affected indigenous communities as mandated by the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.
Like national laws seeking for the protection of wildlife, the ordinance also introduced sanctions for violations done. Sanction ranges from a fine of P1,500 to P2,500 and imprisonment.
The ordinance was lauded by officials of Benguet as a move to protect endangered species that are found in the area. # nordis.net