PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Round 150 tons of fossilized big clam shells coveted for his or her ivory-like high quality had been recovered by the police and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on a non-public island within the village of Panitian within the southern Palawan city of Sofronio Española.
The enormous clams, regionally generally known as “taklobo,” had been discovered within the undeveloped part of the 26-hectare King’s Paradise Island, the place a resort had operated till it shut down in June final 12 months on the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities estimated the haul to be value P250 million.
The PCG recognized 4 residents from the mainland village of Iraray as suspects behind the unlawful commerce of taklobo however solely Eulogio Josos Togonon was arrested when authorities swooped down on the island on June 28. The opposite suspects who eluded arrest had been recognized solely as Totong Josos, Nonoy Guliman and Vilmor Pajardo.
The 4 will face prices for violation of Republic Act No. 9147, or the Wildlife Assets Conservation and Safety Act, stated Cmdr. Severino Destura, deputy chief of the PCG Palawan, in an interview on Thursday.
The enormous clam shells had been turned over to village officers of Panitian after a joint stock by representatives from the PCG, the Philippine Nationwide Police Maritime Group and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Growth (PCSD).
Jovic Fabello, spokesperson for the PCSD, a authorities environmental company mandated to guard the pure sources of Palawan, stated locals had been tricked into partaking within the unlawful actions by individuals who provided them cash and who claimed they’d authorities permits to interact within the commerce of taklobo shells.
“The prevalent market worth is round P2,000 per kilo. Normally, there are bigger organized teams behind this who inform the residents that it’s allowed to reap or accumulate these big clam shells,” Fabello stated in a phone interview.
The enormous clams got here near extinction within the Eighties resulting from indiscriminate harvesting by locals for meals and shellcraft till strict legal guidelines had been enforced, similar to RA 9147, which was enacted in March 2001, to guard the species.
Whereas the clams are wanted for his or her meat, their shells have been prized as various materials for jewellery, chandeliers, non secular icons and different merchandise, attracting smugglers who’ve turned to this endangered species as an alternative to the illicit ivory commerce.
They’re in every single place
Fabello stated it was a problem for environmental companies to establish the place big clam shells had been being harvested for the reason that waters of Palawan have a pure inhabitants of big clams.
“To assist mitigate the issue, we’re doing data training marketing campaign in every barangay [and] putting in tarpaulins [that] inform residents that it’s prohibited underneath the legislation [to collect giant clams],” Fabello added.
Simply this 12 months, a number of tons of fossilized big clam shells had been seized by legislation enforcement officers.
On April 16, two fishers had been arrested at Sitio Inexperienced Island within the coastal village of Tumarbong in Roxas city in what authorities described as their “largest haul” of about 200 tons of big clam shells, with an estimated market worth of P1.2 billion.
Simply days earlier, on April 13, at the least 26 tons of deserted big clam shells, value P57 million, had been additionally present in a coastal group in Narra city.
On Feb. 6, 90 items of deserted big clam shells had been additionally discovered at Barangay Sibaltan in El Nido city. INQ
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