VIRAL: Does Cebu town mayor really want whale sharks killed?

Ryan Macasero

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VIRAL: Does Cebu town mayor really want whale sharks killed?
Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia won't be in the position to make good on his threat

CEBU CITY, Philippines – On June 19, a Facebook post asserted that a town mayor in Cebu province wanted to “declare war” on whale sharks. 

The graphic used this quote from Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia: “The whales are competing with the fisherman. Right now, I allow, if they catch a whale, kill the whale. Why not?” 

The bottom of the graphic reads: “If you want to stop this mayor from killing whale sharks share this post and make it viral.” 

As of June 22, the post from Chris Montero’s account, which seems to be the original source of the graphic, had over 12,000 shares and 7,000 likes. 

Montero captioned the June 19 post, “Obviously an uneducated man can’t think out of the box.”

The graphic did not cite or link to the source of its information. In fact, Rappler reported this story on Garcia’s comments on the whale sharks in February 2015, and he indeed said he would allow fisherman to kill the whale sharks. (READ: Cebu town mayor: Kill whale sharks, dolphins)

However, Nelson Garcia – brother of former Cebu governor and now reelected 3rd District Representative Gwendolyn Garcia – will no longer be in a position to carry out his policy.

He lost his reelection bid last May.

Nelson Garcia lost to vice mayor Efren Guntrano “Gungun” Gica. 

Whale sharks, an endangered species, do need protection. Killing them is illegal under local and national laws. Garcia, however, has been quiet since he made that threat more than a year ago. And – at least in the next 3 years – won’t have the power to make good that threat on the whale sharks of Dumanjug. –

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Nobuhiko Matsunaka


Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at