Park owners to charge DENR with harassment-A A +A
Saturday, March 9, 2013
THE owners of a private wildlife park in Cebu city plan to harassment charges against Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 officials.
Butch Guillen and his family, who own and operate BG Rainforest Park in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu city, said they were "bombarded with calls" from the DENR last Thursday to release sea turtles in the park before the agreed date.
Tara Guillen, BG Rainforest vice president for operations, said she called Ariel Rica, DENR biodiversity and wildlife section chief, to clarify some issues "but he did not accommodate my inquiries."
"He told me instead, 'sunod na lang mo para di mudako inyong kaso (just comply so that the charges against you would not escalate),' and slammed the phone on me," she said.
Tara said that when Rica visited the park, he merely complimented it. But they were surprised later in the technical conference when DENR officials accused them of improper treatment of the animals, citing the poor skin condition of the turtles.
"Our primary intention is to campaign for the environment, which is the mandate of DENR, but instead we are being harassed and seemingly given a bad impression.
Supposedly, DENR should support and encourage companies like us since we are heading toward the same direction as them," the Guillens said in a statement.
They said their lawyers will file a complaint against the DENR before the Office of the Ombudsman of the Visayas next week.
The DENR 7 declined to comment on the allegations of the Guillen family.
"We will make a statement or reply as soon as we get hold of the formal complaint," said DENR 7 information officer Eddie Llamedo.
The DENR asked the park owners to submit an action plan to ensure the proper upkeep of the park and care of the animals. Park owners were also required to submit documents supporting the legal acquisition of endangered species at the facility.
Butch said will comply with all the requirements.
He said that they put up the park to create awareness about the environment. He denied that animals kept at the park are malnourished and live in poor conditions.
"Under the law (Wildlife Act of the Philippines), we can acquire animals) for educational purposes," he added.
The 3,000-square-meter park houses 104 species, including freshwater crocodile, peacocks, civet cat and freshwater sharks.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 09, 2013.