DENR wins case vs killer of 'threatened' kalaw bird

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has secured a conviction in a wildlife case in connection with the killing of a Rufous hornbill, a threatened bird species locally known as kalaw, in Ilocos Norte province in 2014.

Judge Conrado Ragucos of Branch 19 of the Bangui Regional Trial Court sentenced Michael Datu to a jail term of up to four years after he pleaded guilty to killing the kalaw, which is penalized under Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection Act.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu lauded the court ruling as a "decisive victory for the country's wildlife as it sends a strong signal that wildlife crimes cannot go unpunished."

Buoyed by the legal victory, Cimatu said the DENR "will continue to uphold its mandate in protecting the environment, particularly the diverse biodiversity species that comprise the multitudes of ecosystems in the country."

The case stemmed from a photo posted on Facebook showing a man, who was later identified as Datu, holding up a dead kalaw and with a rifle hanging across his body. The photo was posted on the Facebook page of Wild Bird Club Philippines.

This prompted an investigation by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Bangui.

With the help of the local police and some witnesses, Datu was tracked down and made to admit he was the man in the photo and that he "accidentally" killed the bird.

After the case was filed in court, Datu was arraigned twice.

During his first arraignment, he pleaded not guilty to the crime. He later on changed his mind and pleaded guilty during rearraignment.

The Rufous hornbill, also known as the Philippine hornbill (Buceros hydrocorax), is a large species of hornbill found only in the Philippines and is listed as among the terrestrial threatened species under DENR Administrative Order No. 2004-15.

The bird is categorized as "vulnerable" under the Convention of the International Trade in Engangered Species of Wildlife Flora and Fauna or CITES, a global treaty to protect endangered plants and animals. ### 


DENR leads twin environmental events in September

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will lead the local celebration of two important global environmental events this September: the International Coastal Cleanup Day and the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu called on Filipinos to take part in the twin celebration seeking to raise public awareness on the protection of the seas and the ozone layer, both will be held on September 16.

"These two global environmental events will not only educate Filipinos about the current situation of the environment, but also heighten the consciousness of the general public on the dangers that may come if we do not properly take care of our water resources and the ozone layer," Cimatu said.

With the theme "Sama-sama para sa Karagatan," this year's International Coastal Cleanup Day is organized by the DENR's Biodiversity Management Bureau, in partnership with the International Coastal Cleanup Philippines under the Washington-based environmental advocacy group Ocean Conservancy, and the Philippine Coast Guard.

The institutional partners include the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Education, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of Tourism.

Now on its 31st year, the event aims to engage people to remove trash from beaches and waterways around the world, identify the sources of the debris and change the behavioral patterns that contribute to pollution.

In the National Capital Region, simultaneous cleanup activities will be held in Manila Bay near the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Centennial Park and Fish Port in Navotas, Pinagsabugan creek in Malabon, Pasig River and at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area.

The DENR advises participants in clean-up activities to bring their own industrial or garden gloves, reusable containers and utensils, and wear comfortable clothes. Children aged 16 years old and below are discouraged to join the activity.

The observance of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer coincides with the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion.

This year's theme is "Caring for the life under the sun" and the DENR's Environmental Management Bureau has lined up some activities, including seminars and workshops on the inventory of greenhouse gases (GHG) in relation to the country's commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Montreal Protocol and the Kigali Agreement.

A global climate deal reached in Rwanda last year, the Kigali Agreement is an amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol which aims to phaseout hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs, a family of potent GHG by the late 2040s.

On September 14, the United Nations Environment Programme will launch the website for its newest campaign, as well as #OzoneHeroes that will be used in social media to raise awareness on the accomplishments of the Montreal Protocol.

The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is intended to spread awareness of the depletion of the ozone and search for solutions to preserve it. ### 


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