By Eunice V. Guadalope
A lawmaker filed a bill at the House of Representatives seeking to increase the fines slapped on the illegal trade of Philippine corals and other marine species.
Las Piñas Rep. Mark A. Villar filed House Bill 2819 which aims to raise the current penalty for illegal marine trade to as much as P500,000 from the current P2,000.
“We must act now to protect the country’s precious corals and other marine wealth before they are lost forever,” Mr. Villar said in a statement yesterday.
House Bill 2819 was filed to amend Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.
Aside from the stiffer penalties, Mr. Villar called for a range of increased fines for the forfeiture of catch and cancellation of fishing permits.
The violation covers unlawful fishing or taking, catching, gathering, selling, purchasing, possessing, transporting, and export of rare, threatened or endangered species based on the list defined in the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna, The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Act.