Bangkok, 22 July 2011. On behalf of the Philippines as Chair of the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Linglingay F. Lacanlale delivered the opening remarks at the launching of Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) in Bangkok on 22 July 2011. The Philippines, through Director Theresa Mundita Lim of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, assumed the one-year chairmanship of ASEAN-WEN in May 2011 at the 6th Annual Meeting of the Network in Manila.
ARREST is a USAID- funded program that will complement the work of ASEAN-WEN in combating illegal cross-border trade in endangered flora and fauna and increasing public awareness of wildlife crime and its impacts to reduce consumer demand.
In her remarks, Ambassador Lacanlale noted the accomplishments of ASEAN-WEN since its founding in 2005. These include several enforcement actions by national teams and inter-agency task forces that led to the recovery of live wildlife, animal parts and derivates worth millions of dollars in Manila, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia, and the arrest, investigation and prosecution of those responsible.
Ambassador Lacanlale outlined 3 steps the Philippines intends to take as Chair of ASEAN-WEN under the ARREST Program. First is “to continue exploring mechanisms to strengthen cooperation and coordination in the region and nationally, through our respective task forces and inter-agency coordination platforms.” Second is to continue raising the profile of ASEAN-WEN by talking about its achievements at every appropriate forum. And third is to continue building partnerships and creating linkages with countries outside Southeast Asia inasmuch as wildlife trafficking is transnational in character that requires joint concerted action by governments worldwide
Ambassador Lacanlale assured everyone of the Philippines’ commitment to continue the excellent work done by Thailand, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Myanmar as previous Country Chairs in advancing the goals and objectives of ASEAN-WEN.
Also present at the launching were U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney, Jakarta-based ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Secretary General Hon. Antonio V. Cuenco, Pol. Colonel Subsak Chavalvivat (Thailand ASEAN-WEN Police Focal Point) and other key officials of ASEAN-WEN and its partners.■
(L-R) Pol. Colonel Subsak Chavalvivat (Thailand ASEAN-WEN Police Focal Point), DNP CITES Thailand Director Wattana Vetayaprasit (ASEAN-WEN Thailand National Focal Point), Pol. Gen. Chanvut Vajrabukka (Adviser, ASEAN-WEN PCU Law Enforcement Extension Office), DNP Deputy Director General Theerapat Prayusiddhi, H.E. Philippine Ambassador Linglingay Lacanlale (representing the Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN-WEN 2011-2012), Jakarta-based ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Secretary General Hon. Antonio V. Cuenco, Hon. US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, FREELAND Foundationa Chairman Hon. MP Kraisak Choonhavan, DNP Director General Sunon Anuropparrat, FREELAND Foundation Director and Chief of Party of ARREST Steven Galster, USAID Regional Environment Director Winston Bowman, DNP Deputy Director General Nipon Chotibal.
Ambassador Lacanlale delivering the opening remarks at the launching of the ASEAN-WEN ARREST program.