In my previous post, I touched upon the scandalous and inappropriate use of a Bantay Dagat boat by members of the Philippine Shooting Team namely Tet Lara, Jade De Guzman and Mike De Guzman. In that post, the team members were shown in a group photo, similar to this one, disembarking with their fresh kill. Although I was pretty sure that " Bantay Dagat " was emblazoned on the side of the boat, one could still argue that I was mistaken. After all, only a few letters were visible with the hunters' legs obscuring the rest. But, we now have a better picture that leaves no doubt in our minds. Call it Divine Intervention. Here it is, manna from heaven. Let there be no doubt that God is a nature lover. All the world's plants and animals are his creation too. And those who protect them are his soldiers on Earth. Let's take a look at this photograph.
In this photograph, we again see the humiliating acts to which our natural treasures were subjected to. Take note of the pile of dead wildlife lying at the bow of the boat. It must be approximately 1.5 feet high, or 46 cm., and some might have been unloaded already. Here you can clearly see the name on the side of the boat. You can also discern the seal of the regional branch of Bantay Dagat very near the bow. It says, " Camarines Norte. " Well, that kinda narrows it done, doesn't it? They were not in Argentina as their now defunct website suggested. They were actually hunting protected wildlife in Bicol where, the last time I checked, Republic Act 9147 and the Philippine Animal Welfare Act were in effect. It has also become clear that they were in wrongful possession of a boat intended for the protection of fisheries, using it instead for their personal pleasure and their environmentally destructive pastime.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) is the lead agency for Bantay Dagat. I believe with all my heart that BFAR as a whole, was unwilling, then and now, to be a participant in such hunting parties. As I said in my previous post, they are the good guys. However, it is obvious that someone further down the line at BFAR, perhaps at the grassroots level, lost sight of the bureau's noble cause and cooperated. Thus, the bureau's good name was compromised. Does the bureau have anything to say about these hunters using their boat to violate the R.A. 9147 and the Animal Welfare Act? Or, are they going to stay mum, play safe and accept a sullied reputation to protect the obviously guilty? It's a serious misappropriation of government funding. It would be very reassuring to those who care about Philippine wildlife if the bureau made sure that such faux pas does not happen again.
For those of you who want to help save Philippine wildlife and its environment, please sign this online petition and spread the word via website linking or simple emailing. Thank you.