Dried corals, clam shells seized again in Punta Engaño, Mactan

Posted on April 19, 2011

0




Police yesterday recovered thousands of corals and 30 sacks of sea clams locally called “tacobo” in two shanties in barangay Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, after being tipped off about the illegal harvest.
Boxes of clam shells  and corals wrapped in newspaper and packed in boxes ready for shipment were found in the huts, but the occupants were not around.
About 100 meters away, corals of eight varieties were found in the bushes being dried under the sun.
It was the third seizure since March of large batches of endangered species in barangay Punta Engaño, a coastal community long known as  a source of illegally gathered seashells and other  marine life in Mactan.
Shells, starfish and corals are dried, cleaned and processed for export as house décor, parts of fashion accessories and ornaments.
Last April 2, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza  declared “an  all-out war” against illegal fishing and the sale of endangered  species after law enforcers, including the Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force, confiscated tons of harvested
corals and shells left in open areas of the barangay.
No arrests have been made.
An inventory was still being completed for yesterday’s batch initially estimated to be worth P1 million according to PO3 Jomar Ybanez of the City Environment and Desk Office (CEDO).
The shells and corals were reportedly bound for Korea. They will be turned over to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) after inventory.
Police were tipped off about the illegal activity about 9 a.m. and went to sitio Malingin to look for it. When they approached the two shanties near a cliff, the men inside  scampered off, leaving the goods and several fighting cocks, said Senior
Insp. Junnel Caadlawon, chief of station 2.
Punta Engaño barangay captain Lourdes Ibag  said the cottage owner was  a son of the former barangay captain who had a shellcraft business.  She said the father himself told her that his son was reported to the authorities after his
eldest sibling found out that he was involved in the sale of endangered species.
“Pagkahibalo kuno sa maguwang nga and negosyo iya manghud kay illegal, iya kono ipadakop,” Ibag said, adding that these reports are still being verified by the police.
Ibag said the land was owned by a teacher and two doctors in the city.
Last month, Ibag’s house was the site of confiscation of seashells and corals.  She said these were leftover items from a previous 2002 police raid.  She said that after the 2002 raid, she no longer engaged in the sale of endangered
species.
To show that she supports Mayor Radaza’s campaign to stop the illegal exploitation of marine resources, Ibag said she  invited to the barangay session the other week about 20 residents involved in such activities.
“I explained to them that they can no longer gather these materials because they would be arrested,” she said.
In March, corals worth P2 million to P3 million were found abandoned in a coastal area in sitio Sinalikway, barangay Punta Engaño.