Su Sereno and Ella Montalban, Bohol Island News Staff | Posted on Oct. 18, 11:27 a.m.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR- 7) is appealing before the public to report immediately to authorities those people who are possessing or collecting fossilized giant clams.
BFAR- 7 Director Alfeo Piloton, in a statement, urges people to alert law enforcers or the bureau if in case they catch someone collecting, possessing or selling fossilized giant clams – an act which is strictly prohibited under the existing laws.
Recently, BFAR-7 personnel joined the October 16 operation conducted by the local authorities from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in intercepting two subjects from Cordova town, Cebu that allegedly possessed fossilized giant clams.
According to a separate report from Inquirer.net quoting Major Aristides Galang of PAF, the team arrested couple George and Bebing Oldama, Roweno Tajanlangit, and two other male suspects.
A total of 2 tons were seized from their possession.
In an interview with NBI Region 7 Director Tomas Enrile on Friday morning, he revealed that these were sold from P18,000 to P20,000 per kilo.
This brings the total value of the seized items to P36 million.
Enrile admitted that it took them months to do surveillance of the illegal activities of the arrested group.
They were supposed to sell these fossilized giant clams to the black market. He added that most of the buyers would use the said items for decors.
The seized items were then transported to the BFAR-7 office in Cebu City on Wednesday late afternoon for safekeeping.
NBI-7 filed the appropriate charges against the violators on Friday morning before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.
BFAR-7 said the possession of fossilized giant clams is a violation of the Republic Act 10654 or an “Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.”
Fossilized giant clams are also protected under international policies, particularly listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) Appendix II.
BFAR 7 thanked the personnel from NBI and PAF and also commended their efforts to help preserve the country’s natural assets.