QUEZON CITY, Sept. 21 -- The imposition of community quarantine has seen a growing number of Filipinos engaging in buying and selling plants. In fact, the government is actively supporting this and it pushes for urban gardening not only to provide a healthier environment, but also to boost food security.
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), however, there are limits to what 'plantitos' and 'plantitas' can plant and collect.
In a statement, DENR "highly discourages the collection of the plants that are naturally sprouting in the wild or in its rainforest environment, specially within the protected areas."
Along with animals, the country's flora species are also protected by RA 9147 or the "Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act," making it illegal to remove, possess, trade or transport them most especially the threatened ones as it means that these plants may be the remaining few of its kind.
The tiger orchid, which is endemic to the Philippines, is considered one of the critically endangered plants along with lady slipper orchid and giant staghorn fern. While bantigi, Sander's phalaenopsis, and sandaoua are endangered plants from the wild.
DENR warns that "the loss of these plants in its natural habitat due to illegal harvesting may harm our fragile ecosystem."
Whoever will be caught trading wild plants from and within the country will face imprisonment of 10 days to one (1) month or four (4) years and a fine of not more than Php300,000.
Additionally, those who will be caught transporting wild plants will face imprisonment of not more than one (1) year and a fine of not more than Php100,000.
The complete list of plants that are prohibited for collection can be found in DENR Administrative Order No. 2017-11 or https://cutt.ly/DENRThreatenedPHPlants. (MTQ/PIA-IDPD)