Recently, 90 pieces of giant clams shells were confiscated in Barangay Sibaltan, El Nido. A concerned citizen messaged the Operatives of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) through messenger and said that there are giant clams in the area on January 6.
On the same day, the PCG rushed directly and inspected the area. They searched and found a set of empty giant clams shells in the Barangay. They asked the residents if they knew who owns the shells but no one knew and claimed. After 24 hours of waiting for the owner to show up, they decided to collect the abandoned shells and transfer them into their sub-station for documentation but then three people appeared claiming it was their clams. They were told to show their papers but unfortunately, they didn't have one. So, the authorities continued to move the shells.
April Bernal, the El Nido PCG Acting Station Commander Lt. said at a press conference that this is the first time that they seized an empty giant clam. They were given a tip that the shipment will occur on the night of January 7th. Luckily, it was prevented from being sold.
On the following days, a worth of P50 million was confiscated in Green Island, Barangay Tumarbong, in the Municipality of Roxas. The clam shells were buried in the sand, under the roof of the houses by the two residents who were now facing criminal charges.
This illegal doings happened several times in a year. No matter how strict the local government implements the rules, the locals still bite the bait for money. Not only giant clams were sold and other endangered animals such as Pangolins, Green Sea Turtles, Talking Mynah, Blue-naped parrot and many more.
The biggest seized operation happened last year on October 8, in El Nido. The estimated cost for the illegal clam shells was around P4.5 million, followed by the P2.5 million in the Municipality of Narra and then in Barangay Igang-igang in Bataraza that was worth P2 million. This three was the biggest operation stopped by the Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG). The demand of the clam shell in the market has been rising and this must be stopped.
There are Republic Acts that were made and approved in the Congress regarding protecting the wildlife and preventing illegal acts. Under Republic Act 9147 also known as The Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act is an act providing for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats, appropriating funds therefore and for other purposes and Republic Act No. 10654 or The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 is an act providing for the development, management, and conservation of fisheries and aquatic resources, integrating all laws pertinent thereto, and for other purposes.
The Government of Palawan and the local authorities hoped that these illegal deals would not happen again. These wildlife are meant to survive in the first place and conserved. Buyers must be punished by giving money to locals and ignore the possibility to face charges.
Palawan is one of the richest islands in the Philippines and the place that must be protected hundred folds by the government. It is a home of endangered species, a paradise for the people and a must visit place by tourists.