Uploaded by Sean Kale Nayahangan


San Beda University
College of Law
Increased Penalties for Crimes Against Wildlife
A Research Paper Presented to the
College of Law
San Beda University
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Subject
Environmental and Natural Resources Law
Sean Kale Dugyon Nayahangan
Part 1: Background of the Study
The Philippines has one of the top countries in the world to house a diverse array
of marine, wildlife and plant ecosystems. Located at the coral triangle its home to one of
the worlds greatest coastal, marine, and island ecosystems. Its abundant marine
biodiversity makes it a top tourist destination in the world, attracting thousands of people
all year round. Many provinces experienced parabolic development due to the influx of
tourist and some are on there way to mimic their success. The country also boasts
diverse natural land habitats and wildlife, housing of 5% of the worlds fauna and ranks
fourth in bird endism.
The country is a hotspot for biodiversity, however, the country’s biodiversity is
under threat against human persecution. Southeast Asia is predicted to lose over a third
of its biodiversity over the next century due to elevated rates of deforestation (Brook et
al., 2003; Sodhi et al., 2010).Human activities has greatly contributed to the degredation
of ecological systems and habitat loss.Massive deforestation, mining activities,
unsustainable development and tourism practices, and illegal trade has mainly
contributed to its overwhelming decline.It is predicted that species at greater risk of
extinction in the Philippines would be endemic (Myers et al., 2000; Boyer, 2008) With
many of its wildlife being hunted and captured for international blackmarket trade, the
Philippines is identified as a hot zone for wildlife and plant loss, with many species
under threat of extintion. The IUCN Redlist, an organization tasked with tracking
vulnerable plant and animal species has identified 358 critically endangered species,
611 endangered species, and 687 species vulnerable to extinction. This makes the
Philppines one of the top countries with the most endemic species under threat of
extinction. The decline in population of one species, increases its market value in the
black market, promting poachers to scour the islands to find more.
To combat this, the Philippines enacted Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife
Resources Conservation and Protection Act. An act providing for the conservation and
protection of wildlife resources and their habitats, appriopriating funds therefor and other
purposes. This act will be the topic of this research as the researcher will discuss ways
on further improving the law to be a more effective deterrent for wildlife and habitat loss.
Part 2: Statement of Research Problem
● What amendments can be done to Republic Act 9147 Wildlife Resources
Conservation and Protection Act to increase its effectivity for wildlife
○ Identify countries that have effectively enacted laws to combat illegal
○ Identify countries that have effectively enacted laws to combat wildlife and
habitat loss?
Part 3: Statement of Specific Objectives
● To propose an amendment for Republic Act 9147 to be a more effective deterrent
for wildlife and habitat loss
● To increase protection of aquatic and land animals against illegal hunting and
● To identify succesfully implimented laws of other nations that succeeded in
protecting their wildlife and their habitats.
● To use laws of other nations as a benchmark for the amendments made towards
Republic Act 9147
Part 4: Discussion
1. The threat of habitat, aquatic and terrestrial animal loss in the Philippines is an
urgent matter that should be acted upon immediately. The Philippines enacted
Republic Act 9147 or also known as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and
Protection Act to combat and prevent the looming threat against habitat loss and
animal extinction. RA 9147 serves as the countries legal framework for ensuring
the conservation and protection of wildlife and their habitat. The primary function
of RA 9147 are: Wildlife Protetion, it acts as a safeguard against animal
exploitation for both vulnerable to endangerement and endangered species.
Habitat Conservation, it acts to prohibit activities that will have a negative impact
towards animal habitats. Trade Regulation, it regulates trade, transport, and
possession of wildlife and plants. Penalties and Fines, it serves as the legal
framework for prescribing violations,penalties and fines. Establishing Protected
Areas, this law provides for the protection and conservationof wildlife habitat.
2. Despite the implementation of RA 9147, the fight against the protection and
conservation for wildlife and habitat loss is an uphill battle. With numerous
incidents regarding illegal traficking of endangered animals and habitat loss due
to human activity despite the enactment of the law questions its effectivity. The
penalties for habitat destruction and wildlife trafficking has inefficiently deterred
illegal activities. Wildlife smuggling like the high profile case of illegal trade of
critically endangered Palawan Pangolins, Horned bill, Tarsiers, and numerous
illegal exports of marine species. These cases highlight the inadequate power of
the law to prevent wildlife crime. Amendments and improvements of RA 9147 is
required to curb the crime rate against wildlife and their habitat.
3. To successfully improve RA 9147, the study has identified two countries whose
wildlife conservation laws have been effective in deterring and discouraging
illegal activities against wildlife and their habitats, namely, Australia and the
United States of America. Drawing inspiration from the effectivity of these laws
and use it as a benchmark for proper amendments and improvement.
4. Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
(EPBC Act) has been highly effective in protecting the country’s rich biodiversity
and habitats. It was enacted to address the pressing need for comprehensive
legislation to safeguard the country's unique and diverse biodiversity. Just like the
Philippines, Australia is home to a wide range of endemic species, many of which
are threatened or endangered. One of the main strength of the EPBC Act is its
robust penalties and fines. Compared to the Philippines, the EPBC Act
implements severe fines and imprisonment. The effectivity of these penalties is
evident with Australia’s continued success combating wildlife smuggling and
habitat destruction. The EPBC has a thorough process of approving
developmental projects, ensuring that environmental impacts are highly
considered. Its comprehensive approach ensures sustainable development all
throughout the country, ensuring the safety of marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
The EPBC Act’s has proactive approach with collaborating with indigenous
communities in safeguarding, restoring, and preserving wildlife and ecosystems
through recognizing practices that have been effectively applied by the
indigenous peoples for generations, ensuring that surrounding communities will
be more involved on protecting with the wildlife and ecosystems around them.
5. USA’s Lacey Act has been an deterrent for crimes against wildlife and its habitats
since 1900.It has gone through multiple amendments and improvements and
evolved through every decade. It is one of the most effective laws to combat
illegal animal smuggling and habitat destruction. One of the main strengths of
this law is its extraterritorial reach, allowing U.S. Authorities to prosecute beyond
its borders. A crucial deterrent for international animal smuggling rings, it has
been used to stop multiple smuggling organizations and have been holding
international corporations responsible for their destruction on animal habitat. The
strength and reach of this law is contingent with the country’s strength to enforce
it. Like Australia, the Lacey Act serves severe penalties, of bigger fines and
longer imprisonment.
Part 5: Conclusion and Recommendation
It is clear that RA 9147 lacks the strength to instill fear with those disregard the
law and perform overt acts that constitutes to crimes against wildlife and its ecosytems.
The law lacks the fangs to bite down against crime. To increase its effectivity, one
should look beyond the borders of the Philippines and get inspiration from successful
laws implemented by other countries. Lacey Act of the United States and EPBC Act of
Australia both share concepts of severe punishment that can be implimented with RA
9147. The researcher recommends amending section twenty-eight (28) of RA9147.
Specifically fines to be paid and prison time, although USA and Australia are first world
countries, thus constituting a higher minimal fine, the fine to be paid with RA 9147 is
severely underplayed. Large international organizations will not even flinch paying such
fines, it is but a miniscule amount compared to the gains in profit smuggling endangered
animals can be. Having inspiration with the Lacey Act, fines paid should be X amount +
twice the profit gained from the illegal act. This style of imposing fines will automatically
wipe out succeeding gains, thus adding a bigger risk to the entire illegal operation.In a
business perspective, this increased risk breaks the equilibrium, the risk and reward
ratio will be unbalanced. This will help deter small scale illegal operations from acting.
This type of amendment is one of the best approaches to increase its effectivity other
than increasing the amount of time spent in jail. In addition, increasing prison time for
illegal smugling of critically enndangered animals and habitat destruction for important
ecosystems stringent to the conservation of endangered animals should constitute to
reclusion perpetua with maximum fines. Being a main contributor for the extinction of a
species constitutes a severe penalty that should justify the vile act.
● Brook, B. W., Sodhi, N. S., and Ng, P. K. L. (2003). Catastrophic extinctions
follow deforestation in Singapore. Nature 424, 420–423. doi:
● Federal Register of Legislation. (2016, July). Environment protection and
biodiversity conservation act 1999. Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016C00777
● Myers, N., Mittermeier, R. A., Mittermeier, C. G., da Fonseca, G. A. B., and Kent,
J. (2000). Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403,
853–858. doi: 10.1038/3500250
● The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
(2022). https://nrl.iucnredlist.org/resources/summary-statistics
● The Federal Register. (2021, February). Lacey Act. Federal Register :: .
Best Environmental Laws Not
Implemented in the Philippines
While the Philippines has made efforts to implement environmental laws, there are
several notable laws from around the world that have not been fully implemented in the
country. Some of the best environmental laws not implemented in the Philippines
1. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) - United States: The ESA provides
protection for endangered and threatened species and their habitats. It includes
provisions for the conservation and recovery of species at risk. Implementing a
similar law in the Philippines would help protect the country's rich biodiversity.
2. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) - United States: The MMPA aims
to protect marine mammals and their habitats from human activities. It prohibits
the hunting, capturing, and harassment of marine mammals. Implementing a
similar law in the Philippines would help safeguard marine mammal populations
and their ecosystems.
3. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) - United States: NEPA
requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts of their actions
and involve the public in decision-making processes. Implementing a similar law
in the Philippines would promote sustainable development and ensure the
consideration of environmental factors in decision-making.
1. National Integrated Protected Areas System Act (Republic Act No. 7586):
Mr. X can amend this law by studying successful models from countries like
Costa Rica and Australia, renowned for their effective conservation efforts. He
can strengthen the protection of endangered species and habitats, establish
more protected areas, and enhance community involvement in conservation
2. Tourism Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9593): Mr. X can amend this law by
studying successful sustainable tourism practices from countries like New
Zealand and Costa Rica. He can promote eco-tourism initiatives, encourage
responsible tourism practices, and establish stricter regulations to protect fragile
ecosystems and wildlife.
By amending and improving these existing laws based on successful models from other
countries, Mr. X can make significant strides in addressing environmental problems and
promoting sustainability in the Philippines
Existing Philippine Laws to Amend and
If Mr. X wants to improve his reputation and credibility by tackling environmental
problems and sustainability projects, he can consider amending and improving existing
Philippine laws related to these topics. Here are some laws that he can focus on:
1. Clean Air Act (Republic Act No. 8749): Mr. X can study successful air pollution
control laws from other countries and propose amendments to strengthen the
existing Clean Air Act. This can include stricter emission standards for industries,
promoting the use of renewable energy sources, and implementing effective
monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.
2. Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act No. 9003): Mr. X can
look into waste management laws from countries with successful recycling and
waste reduction programs. He can propose amendments to enhance the
implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, such as
improving waste segregation practices, promoting recycling initiatives, and
implementing stricter penalties for non-compliance.
3. National Integrated Protected Areas System Act (Republic Act No. 7586):
Mr. X can explore successful laws protecting national parks and wildlife
sanctuaries in other countries. He can propose amendments to strengthen the
National Integrated Protected Areas System Act, such as increasing the
coverage of protected areas, enhancing biodiversity conservation efforts, and
improving the management and enforcement of protected areas.
Implementing the Laws
To implement these laws, Mr. X can follow these steps:
1. Research and Benchmarking: Mr. X should thoroughly research successful
environmental laws from other countries and identify key provisions that can be
adapted to the Philippine context. He can benchmark against countries known for
their effective environmental policies.
2. Consultation and Collaboration: Mr. X should engage with relevant
stakeholders, including environmental experts, NGOs, industry representatives,
and local communities. Their input and collaboration will help in formulating
effective amendments to the existing laws.
3. Drafting and Proposal: Based on the research and consultations, Mr. X can
draft the proposed amendments to the existing laws. He should ensure that the
amendments are comprehensive, feasible, and aligned with the country's
environmental goals.
4. Legislative Process: Mr. X needs to present the proposed amendments to the
appropriate legislative body, such as the Philippine Congress. He should work
with other lawmakers to gain support and sponsorship for the amendments. The
proposed amendments will go through the legislative process, including
committee hearings, debates, and voting.
5. Implementation and Monitoring: Once the amendments are approved and
enacted into law, Mr. X should focus on effective implementation and monitoring.
This includes establishing regulatory bodies, developing guidelines and
regulations, and ensuring compliance through regular inspections and penalties
for non-compliance.
Effects on Industries
The industries encompassed by these laws, such as manufacturing, energy, waste
management, and tourism, will be directly affected by the amendments. The effects can
1. Increased Compliance Costs: Industries may need to invest in new
technologies, equipment, and processes to meet the stricter environmental
standards. This can lead to increased compliance costs in the short term.
2. Transition to Sustainable Practices: The amendments can drive industries to
adopt more sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon emissions,
implementing cleaner production methods, and promoting renewable energy
sources. This transition can lead to long-term benefits, including improved
environmental performance and reduced reliance on non-renewable resources.
3. Opportunities for Innovation: The amendments can create opportunities for
industries to develop and market innovative environmental technologies and
solutions. This can stimulate economic growth and job creation in the green
4. Improved Reputation and Market Access: Industries that demonstrate strong
environmental stewardship and compliance with the amended laws can enhance
their reputation and gain better market access, both domestically and
internationally. This can attract environmentally conscious consumers and
It is important for Mr. X to engage with industry representatives during the amendment
process to address their concerns and ensure a balanced approach that promotes both
environmental sustainability and economic growth.