Environment Secretary Antonia Loyzaga called for the intensification of efforts to fight wildlife trafficking during the blessing and inauguration of the new regional monitoring building of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Iloilo City on January 19.

Loyzaga lauded the regional office, and said the newly built DENR Region 6 Monitoring Building will be vital in strengthening the agency’s mandate to combat wildlife trafficking and illegal wildlife trade, especially in Western Visayas.

The building, located along Muelle Loney Street and overlooking the Iloilo River and Guimaras Strait, will house the Forest Products and Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Section of the Iloilo Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office for the monitoring of charcoal and wildlife from Guimaras Island.

Guimaras Island is home to a variety of endangered wildlife, such as the Visayan Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides panini), Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons), Visayan Spotted Deer (Rusa alfredi), and the Visayan Wild Cat (Prionailurus javanensis sumatranus), among others.

“I am concerned about wildlife trafficking. It is very real. And so, this is a very important spot that could be vital for the intensification of this particular mandate of the DENR,” Loyzaga said.

“We also need to look into the manpower, human resources, as well as the technical and support services needed for us to humanely handle the wildlife,” she added, noting that these are all important to effectively enforce Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.

DENR Region VI Executive Director Livino B. Duran said the building will also house the General Services Section, and Storage and Procurement Bay for the storage of acquired supplies and materials.

The second floor will have permanent records of the Planning and Management Division, the Finance Division, and the Administrative Division.

Loyzaga, who earlier ordered the digitization of all DENR data resources, instructed Duran to assure the digitization of the physical records that will be stored in the building to improve the agency’s public service efficiency, and provide effective and timely environmental interventions.

The DENR had allocated a total of P10 million for the construction of the monitoring building, which used to be an old, abandoned and dilapidated structure left by the Iloilo Harbor Pilots Association. ###