Baguio City police to deploy ‘plantvestigators’ to probe plant poaching in parks

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) - The Baguio City Police Office will deploy “plantvestigators” who will look into the reports of illegal poaching of plants in parks.

“We are appealing, we are now deploying our 'plantvestigators' to investigate this case and to protect our environment, especially the plants in our parks,” Baguio Police chief PCol. Allen Co said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

The City Environment and Parks Management reported last week that plant thieves nearly wiped out the Monstera or Swiss Cheese plants long inhabiting the Mines View Park and Burnham Park.

The office also said that succulents were also being poached in the City Hall Park, and the Upper Session Road was also stripped off of rubber trees as people are into taking care of plants amid the pandemic -- or “plantdemic” as many call it.

Co warned that plant thieves maybe charged for violating the City’s Environment Code, which carries a penalty of P5,000 fine and/or imprisonment of up to five days.

If poached plants are considered endangered, Co added that Republic Act 9147 or Wildlife Resources and Conservation Act penalizes violators with six to 12 years of imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 to P1 million.

With the “plantdemic” craze, Co appealed to plant lovers to preserve the plants in the city parks for the future generations to see.

“We understand the call of maintaining plants in our home, but let us not deprive other people of enjoying these plants doon po sa ating mga parks (in our parks),” said Co.