File image by Gregg-Yan

Palawan-based journalist Keith Anthony Fabro was commended by the Provincial Board for his award-winning contribution to a piece on the illegal pangolin trade being done in the province.

Fabro, also a former writer of Palawan News, co-authored a piece with national news agency Rappler as part of a global news writing initiative monitoring the illegal pangolin trade worldwide. The piece was published in 2019.

The initiative, called The Pangolin Reports, won the 2020 Online Journalism Awards Excellence in Collaboration and Partnerships. The award was announced on October 17 via the Online News Association’s website.

A resolution “recognizing and commending Mr. Keith Anthony S. Fabro, Palaweño journalist, for winning in the 2020 Online Journalism Awards) was passed Tuesday (October 27) during the Board’s regular session as an expression of support for Fabro’s work.

In an interview with Palawan News Thursday, Fabro expressed his thanks to the Board in an e-mail after main resolution proponent Ryan Maminta asked for a background of his work.

“I thank them for reaching out and for recognizing my contribution to the conservation of Palawan pangolin through my journalism,” Fabro replied.

Fabro contributed to “Trafficked to Extinction,” a collaborative investigative piece that details the plight of pangolin species all over the world. The article highlights the legal hurdles to convicting poachers, especially in Palawan.

“It highlighted how wildlife traffickers are taking advantage of the lack of job opportunities and awareness in remote communities to convince some locals to engage in this illegal activity. On one hand, it exposed how this activity was tolerated by some barangay officials who are afraid of not getting re-elected in the next polls,” Fabro said when asked to describe his work.

Pangolins all over the world are considered the “most-trafficked mammals” due to high demand for their scales, which are believed to possess healing properties in traditional medicine, and their meat for exotic cuisine. In Palawan, where the Philippine pangolin is endemic, is considered a hotspot for pangolin poaching.