P1.2 billion worth of giant clams seized in Palawan raid

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P1.2 billion worth of giant clams seized in Palawan raid

ILLEGAL HAUL. Philippine Coast Guard personnel inspect part of the 200 tons of fossilized giant clams seized in Sitio Green Island, Barangay Tumarbong, Roxas, Palawan, on April 16, 2021. Photo by Philippine Coast Guard

Photo by Philippine Coast Guard

The Philippine Coast Guard says the 200-ton haul is the biggest in Palawan, so far

Four people were arrested in Roxas town, Palawan, following the seizure of a record 200 tons of fossilized giant clam shells estimated to be worth P1.2 billion, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Saturday, April 17.

PCG District Palawan Commander Commodore Genito Basilio said the giant clam haul on Friday, April 16, is the biggest in Palawan to date. In early March, authorities seized what was then considered to be the biggest haul in the province – 80 tons of giant clam shells also in Roxas town.

The raid, which was conducted in Sitio Green Island in Barangay Tumarbong in Roxas town, led to the arrest of suspects Rey Cuyos, Rodolfo Rabesa, Julius Molejoa, and Erwin Miagao, for violating Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

They were brought to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) for inquest proceedings and the filing of appropriate complaints.

Aside from the PCG, others in the joint operations were personnel of the PCSD, Philippine National Police- Maritime Group Palawan, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Bantay Dagat Roxas.

Giant clams, known locally as taklobo, are protected under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is poached for its meat as well as its shell, which is used for decorative items.

In 2019, the mass harvesting of giant clams by Chinese vessels in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea sparked a Philippine protest against China.

Palawan is touted by environmentalists as the “last frontier of the environment in the Philippines.” Its special ecological status is affirmed by the government’s creation of the PCSD, an environmental agency dedicated to protecting its natural resources. –

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