The Philippine National Police through its Maritime Group (MG) is among the eight (8) organizations with five (5) enforcement officers in the Asia who won the first Asia Environmental Enforcement Award in Bangkok, Thailand on May 20, 2015.
Under the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), PNP-MG was awarded for its achievements in conducting more than 1,500 operations against violation of fisheries and wildlife laws leading to the seizure of endangered aquatic species, 3,000 arrests and collection of fines more than US $300,000 worth.
Likewise, two (2) of five (5) police officers were from the PNP that won individual awards namely, PSSupt Jonathan V. Ablang, MG Deputy Director for Operations, for promoting the establishment of Marine Protected Areas, recruitment and training of 679 local communities as Marine Protected Area Guards, and for setting up the SMS public hotline that led to the arrest of thousands of suspects for illegal fishing and environmental pollution violations; and PSupt Osmundo D. Salibo, Chief of MG Special Boat Unit, for leading his unit in the confiscation of numerous endangered wildlife species from illegal elements including 900 sea turtles and more than 9,000 marine turtle eggs.
The said SMS public hotline is the "700DALOY Project" (Dedicated Alert Lines for Ocean Biodiversity) with SMS number 700-32569 where the public can pass on critical information related to marine environmental protection including all forms of criminality to PNP-MG.
The AEEA is a joint initiative of UNEP and Freeland, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to encourage countries, organizations and individuals in the region to combat environmental crime and to acknowledge excellence in enforcement.
"Freeland is proud to be part of the new AEEA awards," said Steven Galster, Freeland's Executive Director. "But most of all, we are proud of the award winners, who have gone above and beyond their call of duty and achieved magnificent results in the fight against environmental crime."
Other countries recognized by UNEP are Cambodia, China, India, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam for their efforts in confiscating about US$69 million worth of illegal contraband, logs and wood charcoal, and seizure of nearly 300,000 tons of hazardous waste, wildlife products and timber. Investigation on these crimes have resulted in US$40 million worth of fines and more than US$100 milion in frozen assets.
PNP Officer-In-Charge PDDG Leonardo A. Espina congratulates the Maritime Group for a job well done as they did not only brought home honors for themselves and the PNP but for the country as well.
"These accolades are the Maritime Group's tribute to Mother Nature in line with the realization of one of the PNP Core Values 'Makakalikasan' and the attainment of our function relative to environmental protection and preservation." PCSupt Noel Lazarus C. Vargas, MG Acting Director, said.
"This also manifests that the PNP Maritime Group has far intensified its performance standard as envisioned on our PATROL PLAN 2020 PGS Roadmap using international benchmark" Vargas added. # Adapted News, PNP