Filipinos’ increased interest in gardening amid quarantine was brought up after government authorities on Monday seized several carnivorous plants shipped to the country.
Officers from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) discovered 276 carnivorous plants at the Paircargo Warehouse in Pasay which were from the Netherlands.
They were illegally imported to the Philippines without the required Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance and a CITES permit from DENR.
CITES refers to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is an international agreement among governments ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
BOC said that the carnivorous plants were identified as Drosera, Nepenthes, Dionaea, Sarracenia, Pinguicula, and Cephalotus.
It has an estimated total value of P150,000.
Carnivorous plants have been globally declared as critically endangered and are among the world’s rarest and most endangered plants.
Collecting and trading these insect-eating plants are restricted under Republic Act 9147, also known as the Philippine Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
Following the reported interception of the carnivorous plants, some Filipinos recalled plant enthusiasts who have grown in number due to the increased interest in gardening amid quarantine.
“May mga plantitos and plantitas bang interesado sa ganyan?” a Twitter user commented in response to the report.
The ongoing community quarantine and lockdown in different parts of the country have fostered Filipinos to develop various hobbies such as indoor gardening, especially during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Homebound individuals resorted to sprucing up their living spaces with greens to occupy themselves as the government regulate mobility in a bid to reduce the transmission of the virus.
Among those who have joined the indoor gardening trend include celebrities like Kathryn Bernardo, Bea Alonzo, Gabbi Garcia, Heart Evangelista and Pauleen Luna.
The increased interest in the hobby previously prompted DENR to caution Filipinos against purchasing plants that are considered exotic and said that it is plant poaching.