MANILA -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will push for more public action against the further destruction and loss of Philippine wildlife.

"It's important to educate people about the matter. We're aiming towards that direction," DENR Undersecretary Rodolfo Garcia said.

Garcia said the DENR plans educate the public more about wildlife's importance since, he noted, people can only act based on what they know.

He said public action and cooperation on protecting wildlife would help bolster government's campaign to curb trafficking and other crimes against this natural resource.Republic Act 9147 or Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act defines wildlife as "wild forms and varieties of flora and fauna, in all
developmental stages, including those which are in captivity or are being bred or propagated."

According to scientists, wildlife helps maintain nature's balance and serves as various species' gene bank.Wild plants and animals are used in producing new and hybrid agricultural varieties and in conducting scientific experiments, they noted.

They added wildlife species could also be eco-tourism attractions.

WILDLIFE CRUSADE. Environment Undersecretary Rodolfo Garcia (right) poses with National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Bulacan District Office (BulDO) supervising agent Rudthen Mendoza (left) while USAID Protect Wildlife project Chief of Party Dr. Ernesto Guiang (back) looks on at the 5th Wildlife Law Enforcement Awarding Ceremony in Metro Manila this week. Mendoza was awarded for helping bolster the campaign against wildlife crimes including the confiscation of 113 heads of various bird species in Bulacan province.

(Photo courtesy of DENR)

"There's so much to be gained from wildlife -- it's our life and future," Garcia said."Let's be reminded of our responsibility as stewards," Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) Director Theresa Mundita Lim agreed.

Protecting wildlife and other species would yield various benefits even for future generations, she added.

This month, the BMB led the country's 2018 celebration of the annual World Wildlife Day (WWD).

The celebration included formal recognition of 20 National Bureau of Investigation operatives and eight Philippine National Police
personnel, who helped boost Department of Environment and Natural Resources' campaign against wildlife crimes.Garcia led the awarding of medals and plaques to them.

"With our partners and a committed DENR workforce, the days of remaining wildlife violators are numbered. I believe they'll soon be
apprehended, tried, and convicted," he said.

In December 2013, UN General Assembly proclaimed March 3 of every year as WWD to help raise awareness about global wild fauna and flora.

The date set for WWD is the day when countries in 1973 adopted the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES). (PNA)