MANILA - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday warned plant and gardening enthusiasts to avoid collecting plants considered "critically endangered" as getting these from the wild is considered illegal.
"Dapat aware din po tayo na mayroon tayong Wildlife Act," DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon said during a Senate budget hearing.
(We have to be aware of the Wildlife Act.)
"Covered noon ang flora and fauna kaya ine-eemphasize natin sa ating publiko na hindi basta nagga-gather ng halaman sa mga kagubatan kasi meron silang mga permiso [na kailangan] bago makapag-gather nito," he said.
(It covers both flora and the fauna that's why we are emphasizing to the public that they should not just gather plants from forests because some of these need to have permits.)
Under the said law, "no person or entity shall be allowed possession of wildlife unless such person or entity can prove financial and technical capability and facility to maintain said wildlife."
"Threatened wildlife possessed without certificate of registration shall be confiscated in favor of the government, subject to the penalties," the law read.
Breaking this law could result in up to 12 years in prison or a fine as much as P12 million.
The government is asking P643 million in 2021 to fund the management of some 107 protected areas where the "gene pool" of endangered plants and animals are being grown and kept, Calderon said.
Plantitos and plantitas -- vernacular for plant hobbyists -- have become a fad after Luzon was placed on lockdown in mid-March, forcing Filipinos to stay indoors for several months to avoid the possible spread of COVID-19.
Sen. Nancy Binay urged the DENR to launch more information campaigns to ensure that more Filipinos would be aware of the consequences about collecting endangered plants.