Automation of permits to trade endangered flora and fauna introduced

December 10, 2021

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has automated permit issuance for the trading of flora and fauna to enhance global trade transparency in a long term aim to prevent illegal trade and sustainably develop biodiversity.

   In compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Philippines has started issuing permits for the trading of flora and fauna electronically.  It will be through the eCITESPH.com.

   So that information can be accessible anywhere  thereby facilitating trade, the electronic permitting system will be integrated into the Philippines’ national single window system.

   As such,  international trade of threatened animal and plant will easily be monitored and controlled.

   “The system will improve control of international trade in endangered species.  Automation of CITES processes will help enforce regulations, increase transparency, and facilitate processing and electronic data exchange with customs and other agencies,”  according to Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Assistant Director Amelita Ortiz.

   “Electronic information exchange will reduce opportunities for corruption and the use of fraudulent documents in the trading of endangered species,” she said.

   The DENR has been tapping information technology to enhance capability building to produce experts in wildlife trade. 

35,000 species protected under CITES

   Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the addition of two online learning platforms “enables the DENR to uphold its mandate of educating the people about the country’s wildlife resources despite the prevailing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic.”

   BMB has introduced the eTraining Course on Basic Wildlife Law Enforcement (BWLE) and the Wildlife Philippines Podcast. 

   This project is  under the DENR-Asian Development Bank/ Global Environment Facility Project on Combating Environmental Organized Crime in the Philippines.  

   The project  also involves aid from the United States Department of the Interior International Technical Assistance Program-Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Project 3.

Controlversial ivory trade. Credit– Deutsche Welle

   Modules under this e-learning project includes Wildlife Law Enforcement in the Philippines; Species Commonly involved in Wildlife Crimes; Substantive Laws on Wildlife Resources Protection; Other Crimes against Wildlife; Roles and Responsibilities of Government Agencies in Wildlife Law Enforcement; and Procedural Laws on Wildlife Resources Protection.

   The BWLE training course can be accessed at https:// elearn.adb.org

   More than  38,700 species including  5,900 species of animals and 32,800 species of plants are protected under the CITES, an international treaty signed by Philippines.  It was entered into force in 1975.  Each species is under any of three appendices depending on the degree of of protection they need.

   Each year, the BMB issues more than 1,500 permits on a tedious manual basis.

   But the new automated permit issuance system eases burden of manual work. This is aligned with Republic Act 11032 of 2018 or “Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery.” (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

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