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Smuggled carnivorous plants seized

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Photograph by Anthony Ching for the daily tribune Customs agents and Environment personnel inspect the packages of carnivorous plants that were illegally imported into the country.

The Bureau of Customs (BoC), with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), seized 276 pieces of illegally imported carnivorous plants that were shipped from The Netherlands.

The plants were discovered following a physical examination of 10 packages at the PairCargo Warehouse in Pasay City last 5 July 2021.

Upon verification with the DENR, the BoC Port of NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) revealed the plants were unlawfully imported without the required Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance and CITES Permit.

The carnivorous plants were later identified to include Drosera (sundew), Nepenthes (tropical pitcher plant), Dionaea (Venus flytrap), Sarracenia (trumpet pitcher), Pinguicula (butterwort) and Cephalotus (Australian pitcher plant), with an estimated value of P150,000.

Carnivorous plants have already been declared globally as being critically endangered and are considered the rarest plants in the world.

The collection and trade of these insect-eating plants are restricted under Republic Act (RA) 9147, otherwise known as the Philippine Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

The intercepted packages have been turned over to the DENR for rehabilitation and care pursuant to Section 11 of RA 9147, Section 1147 of RA 10863, known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), and Section 8 of Customs Administrative Order 10-2020.

Aside from criminal prosecution against the personalities behind the smuggling attempt, case records of the shipment will be referred to the Bureau Action Team Against Smugglers and BoC legal service for further case buildup and prosecution for violation of Section 1401 of the CMTA.

Carmelita M. Talusan, Port of NAIA district collector, said the Port of NAIA will continue to intensify border protection efforts against illegal wildlife trade.

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