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Black Market Essay

I. Introduction

The black market is known for the illegal trade that is taking place. The market itself is hidden from the public’s eye due to the state of the goods being traded. We are all aware that this kind of industry exists, yet none is really doing anything to put a stop to it, especially now that even endangered species are available in the market. Or even if there are efforts being done, it is still not enough. Trading of some of the most endangered species there is may result to various effects and that’s what our report would tackle. Endangered species would always be connected to black market and so it would be included in this research. Basically we would discuss about what causes black market, how it runs and why people resort to getting involved in this. We would also be featuring the different animals that are available in the black market. Articles and different researches would also be added, and of course how this affects the homeostasis in our environment.

II. Black Market

A black market is one where the buying and selling of products and services take place in an illegal manner. A black economy is a highly organized and vast market where the regular taxation rules and norms of trade are not adhered to. A black market is known by several names, including black economy, underground market, shadow economy, underdog and parallel economy. In our report we would focus on the goods that are being sold in the black market which are causing the endangerment of certain species.

The supposedly well-kept rare animals were being hunted for some materials which are subject to illegal trading. Some of the factors which contribute to the existence of black market are low availability of an item in the market, overpricing of the item in the local and international market, excessive regulations in the customs, corruption and less regulations concerning these things which produces laxity. In effect, the national income would be low, nations participating in the black market would be criticized, no tax revenue, lack of regulation and people learn to freely break the law and do what they want.

For example, the officials of the Philippines Government reported that farmers who trap native parrots and sell them to wildlife traffickers make around $12 (500 Philippine Pesos) per bird. However, the traffickers who buy the birds and then resell it on the black market can make up to 5 times that amount on average. There have also been reports of birds of prey in the country being sold for as much as $20,000.

Another common example is the ivory trade in the commercial, often illegally from the ivory tusks of the hippopotamus, walrus, narwhal, mammoth, and most commonly, Asian and African elephants. Ivory has been traded for hundreds of years by people in such regions as Greenland, Alaska, and Siberia. The trade, in more recent times, has led to endangerment of species, resulting in restrictions and bans.

Whatever the reason is, we really cannot blame any country or any government on why a black market actually exists in our time today. The black market caters to the needs of those buyers that are in need of specific items that are practically illegal so they could sell it to others. In short, the black market is a place where every illegal item is available at a low price.

People who take part in this are protected in some kind of secrecy that values privacy. People resort to black market because of the availability of the items that are rare to find. For example are the endangered species being smuggled. The level of demand for these things is high just because of the rareness it possesses. People who tend to buy these things are actually after these exotic items which are rare to find. Some of it are available legally but not the endangered species. Even if they are, it will be too expensive, compared to the black market that offers low prices and quick availability.

The black market is dangerous yet people are turning a blind eye about it. They don’t want to get involved in this type of transaction because some of the world’s most powerful people are regular buyers. We are all aware that this exists, yet no one has the courage to put a stop to this. How can we stop the smuggling of endangered species when no one wants to know what is really going on about it?

III. Endangered Species

If we are to discuss the black market regarding animals, we cannot get away with discussing one of its roots, endangered species. The Philippines has been identified by Conservation International as one of the biologically richest countries in the world. Rain forest originally covered most of the 7,100 of the Philippines islands, but excessive clearing of the land has threatened many of the native animal species. As of 2010, only about 7 percent of the original forest remains. The IUCN Red List, a widely recognized evaluation of threatened plant and animal species, classifies many animals in the Philippines as endangered or critically endangered, which means they face a very high or extremely high risk of extinction. By definition, an endangered species is a native species that faces a significant risk of extinction in the near future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Such species may be declining in number due to threats such as habitat destruction, climate change, or pressure from invasive species.

While the population size of a species is a factor, there is no set “number of living members” below which a species is defined as endangered. For instance, a species with a million living members, all of which are clustered in one small area, could be considered endangered; whereas another species having a smaller number of members, but spread across a broad area, might not be considered endangered. Another factor is a species’ reproduction data, such as the frequency of reproduction, the average number of offspring, and their survival rate. According to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, a species can be listed as endangered if it is threatened by any of the following: the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; utilization for commercial, sporting, scientific, or educational purposes at levels that detrimentally affect it; disease or predation; absence of regulatory mechanisms adequate to prevent the decline of a species or degradation of its habitat and other natural or man-made factors affecting its continued existence (which sometimes be inevitable no matter what efforts).

Species all over the world are hunted illegally (also known as poaching). When hunters ignore governmental rules that regulate the number of animals that should be hunted, they reduce populations to the point that species become endangered. Animal pelts and other body parts are also secretly smuggled across borders and sold through “black market” networks of buyers who pay high prices for illegal animal products to be displayed as decorations or used in cosmetic products. Even legal hunting, fishing, and gathering of wild species can lead to population reductions that force species to become endangered. Unrestricted whaling during the 20th century is an example of overexploitation. Over-hunting for food, live Animal trade, collectible items (i.e. Calamian Deer usually found only in the Calamianes, a group of islands in Northern Palawan.

This species has been declared endangered by the IUCN in 1996 because people over hunt them for the prize of their meat and antlers for a collectible items), destruction of habitat, hunting for its meat and leather and bird trading are just some of the causes of the endangered species in the Philippines. Unlike popular belief that animals are the only species which can be considered endangered, trees are also included in this list and few of its causes are over-collection for ornamental purposes, over harvesting, conversion of land for agriculture, over-collection as bonsai or rock garden plants), collection of the whole plant for ornamental purposes; fruit for food; leaves for raincoat-making, bags, hats, baskets, and others and grass fires. The effects of a species getting extinct can result in catastrophic effects in an ecosystem.

Endangered species may be helpful in propagation and reproduction of some other species (pollination, seed dispersal, breaking of seed cover, etc) if they get extinct those species will also come in danger zone. There would also be an ecological imbalance wherein the nature itself will be affected negatively once a species become endangered. Here in the philippines, there are numerous species which are now considered endangered. One is the Philippine eagle which is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List with reports listing their population between 180 to 500 eagles is one of them. The species is protected by Philippine law and individuals found guilty of killing them can face a 12-year prison sentence as well as heavy fines. Deforestation is the primary threat to the Philippine eagle’s population, although juvenile eagles are sometimes caught in traps set for other animals.

IV. Synthesis

As with forest lands, wildlife resources are also owned by the State. As wildlife is essential to preserve biological diversity, the State is also duty bound to protect our country’s wildlife resources. Among the national laws that protect our wildlife resources include: • PD 705 (1975) otherwise known as the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines which mandates the protection of forest lands, including the conservation of wildlife and regulating the hunting thereof; • PD 1152 of the Philippine Environment Code of 1977 which mandates the DENR to establish a system of national exploitation and conservation of wildlife resources and to encourage citizens’ participation in the maintenance and/or enhancement of their continuous productivity by: regulating the marketing of threatened wildlife resources, reviewing all existing rules and regulations on the exploitation of wildlife resources, and conserving the threatened species of wild fauna;

• Republic Act (RA) 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998 which intends to protect and promote the welfare of all animals in the Philippines by regulating the establishment and operations of all facilities utilized for breeding, maintaining, keeping, treating, or training of all animals either as objects of trade or as household pets; • RA 7160 or the Local Government Code which mandates local government units to share with the national government the responsibility in the maintenance of ecological balance within their territorial jurisdictions; and • RA 7586 of the National Integrated Protected Areas System of 1992 which established protected areas for the protection of biological diversity At the international level, the Philippines is a member of ASEAN which is advocating biodiversity conservation and wildlife protection through the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (AWGNCB), and the ASEAN Regional Center for Biodiversity Conservation.

Also, the Philippines is a signatory to the “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora” (CITES) in 1981. This treaty aims to regulate the international trade of wildlife species, its parts and by-products. It sets international policies on trade of wildlife which include the issuance of CITES Export, Import or Re-export Permit for species listed under CITES Appendices. It prohibits the trade of CITES species unless the individuals for trade are bred in captivity in CITES-registered facilities. The treaty requires member-countries to designate CITES Management and Scientific Authorities that will ensure the strict implementation of CITES regulations.

The Philippines also ratified its membership in two other international conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). The member-countries to the CBD are obliged, among others, to conserve sites noted for rich biological diversity, develop national framework on biodiversity conservation and ensure that any use of biodiversity is sustainable and equitable (CBD Text, PAWB). The CMS, on the other hand, requires member-countries to, among others, adopt strict protection measures for migratory species, especially those categorized as being in danger of extinction, and their habitats.

V. Articles

Endangered turtles smuggled to HK returned to Palawan
By: Redento D. Anda of PDI

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY–Palawan on Thursday received from Hong Kong authorities a shipment of rare and critically endangered freshwater turtles and other animals highly prized in the black market pet trade which were confiscated from a traveling Chinese national last week. The returned shipment included 39 Philippine forest turtles–a rare species highly sought in international pet trade and found only in Palawan–,19 Mindanao water monitors, 49 Asian box turtles and a reticulated python.Palawan Gov. Abraham Kahlil Mitra received the animals and had them immediately turned over to the conservation NGO Katala Foundation for rehabilitation and eventual release back to the wild. Mitra noted that the shipper, a certain Zhang Wen Wei who was apprehended by Hong Kong authorities last June 14, was the same person arrested and detained for six weeks in February this year for attempting to smuggle into China the same animal species in large quantities.

Wei reportedly obtained his release from a Hong Kong jail and was able to travel back to the Philippines in March to collect the prized animals from suppliers in Palawan and in Mindanao.Wei was detained in Hong Kong anew after Chinese authorities found a total of 137 reptiles in his baggage. The animals were shipped back to the Philippines Tuesday and was first received by the DENR Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau before the bulk were transported back to Palawan. Some of the animals that reportedly came from other parts of the country were still under the care of PAWB. Former senator Miguel Zubiri, chair of Katala Foundation, said the turtles and the other animals will first undergo rehabilitation before they are released back into the wild.Zubiri expressed frustration over the alleged failure of Philippine airport authorities to detect the shipment and prevent it from leaving the country.

Mitra, for his part, said the provincial government will invite customs and airport officials to appear before the provincial board for questioning “on why it seems our ability to detect shipments like this is very weak.” Mitra added that the provincial government will pass a measure to declare the Chinese national a “persona non grata”. The Philippine forest turtle (Siebenrockiella leytensis) is recorded as found only in northern Palawan. It is listed in the IUCN international red list as “critically endangered.” Dr. Sabine Schoppe, a scientist from Katala Foundation, said the turtles are being sold in the Hong Kong black market “at prices ranging from US$4,000 to 3,000 euros.”

Ivory Worship

By Bryan Christy of National Geographic
Thousands of elephants die each year so that their tusks can be carved into religious objects. Can the slaughter be stopped?

In an overfilled church Monsignor Cristobal Garcia, one of the best known ivory collectors in the Philippines, leads an unusual rite honoring the nation’s most important religious icon, the Santo Niño de Cebu (Holy Child of Cebu). The ceremony, which he conducts annually on Cebu, is called the Hubo, from a Cebuano word meaning “to undress.” Several altar boys work together to disrobe a small wooden statue of Christ dressed as a king, a replica of an icon devotees believe Ferdinand Magellan brought to the island in 1521. They remove its small crown, red cape, and tiny boots, and strip off its surprisingly layered underwear. Then the monsignor takes the icon, while altar boys conceal it with a little white towel, and dunks it in several barrels of water, creating his church’s holy water for the year, to be sold outside.

Garcia is a fleshy man with a lazy left eye and bad knees. In the mid-1980s, according to a 2005 report in the Dallas Morning News and a related lawsuit, Garcia, while serving as a priest at St. Dominic’s of Los Angeles, California, sexually abused an altar boy in his early teens and was dismissed. Back in the Philippines, he was promoted to monsignor and made chairman of Cebu’s Archdiocesan Commission on Worship. That made him head of protocol for the country’s largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, a flock of nearly four million people in a country of 75 million Roman Catholics, the world’s third largest Catholic population. Garcia is known beyond Cebu. Pope John Paul II blessed his Santo Niño during Garcia’s visit to the pope’s summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, in 1990. Recently Garcia helped direct the installation of Cebu’s newest archbishop in a cathedral filled with Catholic leaders, including 400 priests and 70 bishops, among them the Vatican’s ambassador.

Garcia is so well known that to find his church, the Society of the Angels of Peace, I need only roll down my window and ask, “Monsignor Cris?” to be pointed toward his walled compound. Some Filipinos believe the Santo Niño de Cebu is Christ himself. Sixteenth-century Spaniards declared the icon to be miraculous and used it to convert the nation, making this single wooden statue, housed today behind bulletproof glass in Cebu’s Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, the root from which all Filipino Catholicism has grown. Earlier this year a local priest was asked to resign after allegedly advising his parishioners that the Santo Niño and images of the Virgin Mary and other saints were merely statues made of wood and cement. Each January some two million faithful converge on Cebu to walk for hours in procession with the Santo Niño de Cebu. Most carry miniature Santo Niño icons made of fiberglass or wood. Many believe that what you invest in devotion to your own icon determines what blessings you will receive in return. For some, then, a fiberglass or wooden icon is not enough.

For them, the material of choice is elephant ivory. After the service I tell Garcia I’m from National Geographic, and we set a date to talk about the Santo Niño. His anteroom is a mini-museum dominated by large, glass-encased religious figures whose heads and hands are made of ivory: There is an ivory Our Lady of the Rosary holding an ivory Jesus in one, a near-life-size ivory Mother of the Good Shepherd seated beside an ivory Jesus in another. Next to Garcia’s desk a solid ivory Christ hangs on a cross. Filipinos generally display two types of ivory santos: either solid carvings or images whose heads and hands, sometimes life-size, are ivory, while the body is wood, providing a base for lavish capes and vestments. Garcia is the leader of a group of prominent Santo Niño collectors who display their icons during the Feast of the Santo Niño in some of Cebu’s best shopping malls and hotels. When they met to discuss formally incorporating their club, an attorney member cried out to the group, “You can pay me in ivory!” I tell Garcia I want to buy an ivory Santo Niño in a sleeping position.

“Like this,” I say, touching a finger to my lower lip. Garcia puts a finger to his lip too. “Dormidostyle,” he says approvingly. My goal in meeting Garcia is to understand his country’s ivory trade and possibly get a lead on who was behind 5.4 tons of illegal ivory seized by customs agents in Manila in 2009, 7.7 tons seized there in 2005, and 6.1 tons bound for the Philippines seized by Taiwan in 2006. Assuming an average of 22 pounds of ivory per elephant, these seizures represent about 1,745 elephants. According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the treaty organization that sets international wildlife trade policy, the Philippines is merely a transit country for ivory headed to China. But CITES has limited resources.

Until last year it employed just one enforcement officer to police more than 30,000 animal and plant species. Its assessment of the Philippines doesn’t square with what Jose Yuchongco, chief of the Philippine customs police, told a Manila newspaper not long after making a major seizure in 2009: “The Philippines is a favorite destination of these smuggled elephant tusks, maybe because Filipino Catholics are fond of images of saints that are made of ivory.” On Cebu the link between ivory and the church is so strong that the word for ivory, garing, has a second meaning: “religious statue.”

* http://www.endangeredspecie.com/causes_of_endangerment.htm * http://www.femalenetwork.com/news-features/wildlife-at-risk-20-endangered-species-found-in-the-philippines * http://www.globalwarmingandu.com/endangered-species/Effects-Of-Endangered-Species.html * http://www.ehow.com/info_8133925_effects-endangered-species-humans.html * http://tl.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_causes_of_endangered_species_in_the_philippines * http://www.thepoc.net/thepoc-features/what-on-earth/what-on-earth-features/15732-illegal-exotic-pets-in-the-philippines.html *

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