Atty. Adelina B. Villena, Director for Operations of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS), attended a Wildlife Trafficking Investigation Course at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, Thailand last February 29 to March 11.
Villena was selected by the United States (US) Embassy in Manila to attend the said course which was sponsored by the US Department of State.
Experts from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service served as instructors during the five-day course that provides an overview of various wildlife trafficking investigative topics.
Core topics include: wildlife trafficking; case management and report writing; sources of information and surveillance; ethics and corruption; intelligence gathering and confidential informants; raid planning and undercover operations; interviewing and law enforcement in the internet age; analysis of import/export trade and CITES; forensics and crime scene processing; vehicle and border inspections; money laundering and courtroom testimony; and wildlife identification.
“This course has strengthened our capabilities for enforcing the R.A. 9147 or the Philippine Wildlife Act,” said Villena.
Villena was among the five participants who previously participated in ILEA courses. They were inducted as alumni of the Academy and were awarded with silver pin during the oath-taking held at the closing ceremony.
“At the closing ceremony, the program director of the Academy served as the guest speaker. He emphasized the need for cooperation among the graduates in combatting wildlife trafficking, which is now the leading cause of possible extinction of some species,” Villena shared.
“He said when the participants return to their respective countries/offices, they are expected to mentor somebody who would pursue wildlife protection,” she added. “But the most important expectation from the graduates is to continue to network and communicate with the co-participants from other countries to pursue the goals of eliminating wildlife trafficking.”
A total of 36 law enforcers from 12 countries participated in the course. Villena was among the four delegates from the Philippines.