GUAGUA, Pampanga—Four alleged traders of monitor lizards, an endangered species, were arrested by local police here following an entrapments operations in separate locations in Porac town.
Police Lt. Colonel. Julius Javier, Guagua police chief identified the suspects as Raymond Sto. Domingo, 27, of Barangay Tokwing, and Marlon Bacani, 37, of Bgy. Babo Sakan, both of Porac, Pampanga.
The two others suspects whose ages ranges from 15 to 17 were turned over to the Social Welfare Development Office for custody.
Laudemir Salac, Pampanga Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) said trade of wildlife is prohibited by law.
“Collecting, hunting, or possessing and trading of wildlife is punishable by a maximum imprisonment of one year and a fine of up to one million pesos, depending on the species, under the law,” said Salac.
He said the bayawak which was sold has already been rescued and will undergo rehabilitation in a wildlife center before being released back into its natural habitat.
Meanwhile, Paquito Moreno, Jr., executive director of the DENR in Central Luzon warned the public against catching and selling wildlife, and even eating its bushmeat to prevent the spread of another disease.
“If COVID-19 pandemic taught us lessons, the same with wildlife, we have to live and let live,” Moreno pointed out adding that consumption of wildlife is not just illegal but also exposes people to the dangers of catching and spreading zoonotic diseases.
Moreno expressed his gratitude to the public including the netizen who continue to be vigilant in monitoring and reporting wildlife and other environmental crimes. He also appealed to the public to report to the nearest DENR office or the official social media page and e-mail address any illegal wildlife activities.
Last year, DENR Pampanga also rescued 11 monitor lizards from two illegal wildlife traders in Lubao town.
Since 2015, DENR Region 3 has saved 300 various wildlife species from illegal trade and filed criminal charges against 20 individuals.