ZAMBOANGA CITY (PNA) – An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 9 (DENR-9) on Monday said the agency has strengthened surveillance and monitoring against the sale of wild flora in the region.
This came following observations that the online sale of plants, mostly through social media, has flourished amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, said Rosevirico Tan, DENR-9 information officer.
Tan said they have noticed some online traders selling wild flora, the collection of which is strictly prohibited, aside from homegrown ornamental plants.
Personnel of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte, have seized 15 pitcher plants (Nepenthes ventricosa Blanco) last Saturday in Barangay Malintuboan.
Tan said that a post on social media led to the retrieval of pitcher plants by personnel from the Conservation and Development Section and Monitoring and Enforcement Section of CENRO-Liloy headed by Dionisio Rago.
The pitcher plant is listed as “Category B, Endangered” per DENR Administrative Order No. 2017-11 dated May 2, 2017.
Tan said the collection and trade of pitcher plants are prohibited under Republic Act 9147 otherwise known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
An investigation is underway, he said, to ascertain who collected the pitcher plant from the wild as no one claim ownership when the CENRO-Liloy personnel arrived at the display area and retrieved the plants.
Earlier, DENR Regional Director Crisanta Marlen Rodriguez warned the public against the collection of wild flora from the forest, especially those considered as threatened species, without the necessary permit from DENR.