Community Volunteers Deputized by DENR as Biodiversity Guardians
By: Errol Abada Gatumbato
The BK groups jointly conduct patrolling of illegal activities, and the same time, wildlife monitoring. In the event that illegal activities are detected, these volunteers first conduct information and education campaign, then they report the incident to the barangay council who in turn summons the offender. In difficult situations, the BK members notify the PNP who also takes action. In a way, this contributes to community and LGU empowerment on resource protection and law enforcement. The BK members can attest that their efforts have contributed in curtailing or regulating illegal activities, particularly wildlife hunting. Even women from the community are actively participating in protection activities.
The NewCAPP, a project of PAWB-DENR, with support from the GEF through UNDP, with its partner – the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation (PBCFI) and the Polillo Biodiversity Conservation Foundation is providing technical assistance to these groups so they will be properly guided on the operational systems and procedures of law enforcement. Through the project, PBCFI aims to expand similar initiative in Patnanungan and Jomalig municipalities.
The BK groups are similarly supported by the Chester Zoo/North of England Zoological Society and have been expanded due to the support provided before by the Philippines Tropical Forestry Conservation Foundation. PBCFI views the involvement of these community volunteers as an upscaling of the “real” community-based biodiversity protection and habitat restoration initiatives.
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