Officials of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have met with local environmental law enforcement agencies to discuss ways to address environmental crimes in Palawan and in the West Philippine Sea.

During the discussion, USAID Philippines Mission Director Ryan Washburn and USAID Washington-Asia Bureau Chief Kathryn Booker-Veloz asked the representatives of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group, and the Philippine Coast Guard about the challenges they face in addressing biodiversity loss and wildlife trading in the province.

They also talked about how the COVID-19 pandemic would change the way environmental laws were prosecuted and enforced.

USAID also asked the agencies about possible collaborative undertakings to address the concerns.

“USAID works shoulder-to-shoulder with the Philippine government and its partners in strengthening inter-agency collaboration in environmental law enforcement, and supports sustainable enforcement activities that aim to reduce environmental crimes,” the agency said in a statement.

PCSDS also welcomed the USAID representatives to the Palawan Biodiversity Resource Center and the PCSD Evidence Storage Facility, where they were acquainted with the wildlife specimens and confiscated items by the PCSDS.