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Baguio LGU warns against ‘plantnappers’

Aldwin Quitasol



Precious cargo As the “plantdemic” quickly spreads, Baguio ornamental plants occupy buses bound to other regions and cities in the country. PHOTOGRAPH BY ALDWIN QUITASOL FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

BAGUIO CITY — The Baguio City Environment Parks and Management Office (CEPMO) on Friday warned the public against plant poaching, picking or cutting of plants in government properties.

Parks, watersheds, forest reservations and other public spaces are included in the places where these activities are considered a crime.

The warning was issued after a cellphone video showing people cutting and uprooting plants from a plant box in a public elementary school in the city went viral on social media.

There are also reports of people uprooting plants and picking flowers for them to take home.

Assistant CEPMO officer Rhenan Diwas reminded the public especially the “plantnappers” of the law that prohibits such practices.

He said that anyone caught will be charged with violation of the City’s Environment Code or City Ordinance 18, Series of 2016 and can be slapped with a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment for a period of not less than five days or both.

Diwas added that if the plant belongs to an endangered or threatened species such as Alocasia, the person will be charged for violation of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. Violators can face imprisonment from six to 12 years and a fine of P100,000 to P1,000,000.

“While we appreciate the growing interest of the people to maintain plants in their homes, let us be reminded to respect the natural habitat of these plants. Allow them to multiply in the forest rather than constricted in a pot. Let them grow and bloom in public places for everyone to appreciate,” Diwas said.