Residents of Balabac town have expressed concern over the frequent sightings of crocodiles around Barangay Rabor, as environment officials said the destruction of their mangrove habitats may be causing the disturbance of the animals.
Repeated sightings of crocodiles were reported near Rabor Elementary School, prompting school officials to seek help from authorities.
Dionisio Latawan, a public school teacher, told Palawan News, that he saw a crocodile some 200 meters away from school last August 12, Saturday.
“Kasama ko yung co-teacher ko. Nagulat na lang kami may biglang parang humampas sa bandang likuran, buwaya pala,” he said.
Latawan was able to take photos of crocodile near the school and posted them in his Facebook account.
He expressed concern especially for students from the area who regularly travel to school by sea..
“Yung ibang estudyante na nagta-travel sa dagat natatakot din. Kapag high tide, may mga lumilitaw na buwaya sa lupa,” he said.
The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) has advised residents to take precautionary measures to ensure their safety but urged officials to refrain from hunting down the reptiles.
“For now, ang kailangan lang natin gawin, prevention at pag strengthen ng information education campaign para matiyak safety ng mga tao,” he said.
Fabello said that the destruction of the crocodile’s mangrove habitat may have disturbed the animals.
“Ang crocodile kasi hindi kayang lumubog ng matagal sa tubig na malalim, maaring flooded ang mangrove area na tinitirhan nila. Maari namang wala na sila makain,” Fabello said.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (Penro) Felizardo Cayatoc said he will send his staff to verify the reports, even as he reminded residents to take precautionary measures to ensure public safety.
Some residents of Balabac town have expressed alarm over frequent sightings of crocodile near Rabor Elementary School.
While some residents are afraid of the presence of crocodile, there are also some who are used to the situation.
Bgy. Rabor can be reached via one and a half land travel from Poblacion to Bgy. Catagupan, and via water travel for another 1 and a half hours banca ride from Catagupan to Rabor.
Rabor Elementary Schools has approximately 90 students.