The move by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to destroy elephant tusks they seized from poachers and illegal traders is a wrong move that should be opposed, a lawmaker from Albay said.
“The ivory tusks that Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje wanted to crush with road rollers should instead be donated for educational use,” AKB (Ako Bicol) party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe said yesterday.
Batocabe, vice chairman of the House committee on environment and natural resources, said that the pulverization of the ivory tusks might deter elephant poachers, but will deprive future generations the chance to see and feel an ivory tusk of an elephant.
“We should instead donate it to institutions that will put the tusks to educational use,” Batocabe suggested.
“Schools and NGOs will have good use for it to teach the public, especially the young generations, why ivory trade is banned.”
The Philippines is a signatory to the 1989 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species which bans ivory trade.
He suggested that the elephant tusks be donated to schools, colleges and universities, and museums and/or non-government organizations for the purpose of educating students and the public about the welfare of endangered animals like elephants and how ivory trade continues to destroy the future for these animals.
“We already know that ivory tusks and elephants are very rare,” he said.
“Our children might not be able to see and touch an ivory tusk their whole life, much less a live elephant. We have ivory tusks lying around DENR premises. Why destroy them when they could teach so much to future generations?” the lawmaker stressed.
Batocabe has also appealed to Paje to reconsider how to highlight the celebration of the environment month.
“Instead of crushing and destroying the ivory tusks, the DENR should schedule a ceremonial turnover of the tusks and invite public school principals and deans of colleges and universities, as well as museum curators and directors and NGO heads,” he said.
He also emphasized that ivory tusks should not be compared to other products of illegal trade, like pirated CDs and drugs, which have absolutely no educational purpose, of no benefit to the public and are actually harmful.
“Our museums and NGOs will be able to use these tusks to strengthen the world campaign against international ivory trade. Perhaps a section of the National Museum or other science museums will benefit from these tusks. These are priceless treasures that will be put to waste if we destroy them,” Batocabe underscored.
Monday, 17 June 2013 08:00 Published in Metro
The explosion at Bonifacio Global City’s Two Serendra serves as a wake-up call for Congress to act positively on new legislation that will help ensure the safe utilization of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), Rep. Arnel Ty of the party-list group LPG Marketers’ Association yesterday said.
“LPG is now being delivered and consumed in ways that 10 or 15 years ago were unheard of. In the interest of public safety, we have to upgrade and make applicable laws responsive,” said Ty, House energy committee member.
Another group, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Refillers Association (LPGRA), however, expressed strong sentiments against the bill that is being proposed by Ty. The group, headed by its president Bernie Bolisay, maintained the passage of the bill would have adverse effects on the refillers.
Bolisay said the bill would lead to the monopoly in the LPG industry. The LPGRA said it is against the passage of the proposed law.
Bolisay said the bill would “kill” the business of independent refillers who are catering to the millions of poor households.
“It is anti-poor,” Bolisay said, referring to the bill that is being pushed by Ty.
The May 31 explosion at Two Serendra killed three persons and seriously injured a tenant.
“We should not wait for more people to be killed or harmed in LPG-related disasters,” Ty said even as he pushed the passage of the bill.
“It has become absolutely imperative for Congress to finally pass the proposed Act Establishing the Regulatory Framework for the Conduct of Business and the Safe Operations of the LPG Industry,” he said.
Ty noted the 55-member House trade and industry committee in the 15th Congress has approved the bill that “sets comprehensive and rigorous standards for the safe storage, refilling, distribution, transportation and consumption of LPG.”
Ty said the measure requires every LPG installation, including centralized underground pipelines, must obtain and renew annually, a highly improved standard compliance certificate to be issued by the Department of Energy.
Ty explained the Bonifacio Global City, a private enclave owned by Ayala Land Inc. subsidiary Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. (FBDC), has a centralized underground pipeline system that delivers cooking fuel to residential, office and commercial buildings.
The structure was built and is being maintained by Bonifacio Gas Corp., a joint venture between FBDC and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.
Ty said he was not surprised that Ayala Land and Pilipinas Shell decided to pioneer the installation and use of a subsurface centralized LPG complex at Bonifacio Global City.
He noted that two sister firms of Ayala Land — Ayala Life Assurance Inc. and BPI/MS Insurance Corp. — are also among the Filipino stockholders of Pilipinas Shell which is 67 percent owned by The Hague, Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell.
Pilipinas Shell owns one of the two oil refineries in the country that produces LPG. Petron Corp. owns the other refinery.
“Centralized piped-in LPG systems can be operated harmlessly, provided these are built and maintained based on painstaking safety standards. In fact, many urban districts around the world already run on piped gas networks,” Ty said.
The Aquino government is sending a strong signal to carjackers that it does not want them in society even as lawmakers vowed to push the passage of a bill imposing life imprisonment on carjacking irrespective of the value of the vehicle.
The lawmakers said they would see to it that the law against carjacking would be a deterrent to the crime.
In a consolidated House Bill 6909, the House members moved to increase the penalty for carjacking to life imprisonment. The bill has been approved on third and final reading on the eve of the June 6 sine die adjournment of the 15th Congress. It is going to be refilled soon after the opening of the 16th Congress on July 22 this year. Some 53 lawmakers have co-authored the bill.
Among those who authored the bill were Reps. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro, Jorge Banal of Quezon City, Salvio Fortuno of Camarines Norte, Emmeline Aglipay of Diwa partylist, Rodolfo Farinas of Ilocos Norte, Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao City, Winston Castelo of Quezon City, Romero Quimbo of Marikina City, Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and Senator-elect Juan Edgardo Angara.
“The growing incidence or prevalence of carjacking which, in many cases, results in death or serious injuries to victims and innocent persons calls for a commensurate penalty. In these cases, life imprisonment,” Rodriguez said.
One key provision of the proposed law provides for the maximum penalty without the benefit of parole to any person found guilty of carjacking by means of violence against or intimidation of any person, or force upon things and the owner, driver or occupant of the carjacked motor vehicles killed or raped in the course of the commission of the crime of carjacking.
Likewise, any person who violates any provision of the proposed act shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than prision mayor in its maximum period of 6 years and one day to 12 years and a fine equal in amount to the acquisition cost of the motor vehicle, motor vehicle engine or any other part involved in the violation.
The measure states “it shall be unlawful for any person, office or entity to buy or sell any second-hand spare parts taken from a carjacked vehicle. It shall also be unlawful to transfer or use a vehicle plate from one to another without securing the proper authority from the Land Transportation Office.”
Likewise, it shall be unlawful for any person, office or entity, to cause and/or allow the sale, registration, and transfer into another name, the chassis number, engine number and plate number of a motor vehicle declared as total wreck or beyond economic repair by concerned car insurance company, and/or law enforcement agencies due to its involvement in a vehicular accident or for some other causes.
Furthermore, the measure mandates that all interisland and international shipping vessels shall not carry on board vehicles without clearance from the Philippine National Police (PNP).
It also provides that any person who shall undertake to assemble or rebuild or cause the assembly rebuilding of a motor vehicle shall first secure a certificate clearance from the PNP.
The proposed statute clearly provides for the duties of importers, distributors and sellers of motors vehicles to keep record of stocks. It also provides for the duties of the Collectors of Customs on matters of records as mandated under the measure.
Any person engaged in the manufacture of engine block, chassis or body manufacture in a convenient and conspicuous part thereof, which the LTO may direct for the purpose of uniformity and identification of the factory and shall submit to the LTO a monthly report of the manufacture and sale of engine blocks, chassis or body.
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