Operatives of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) recovered 90 pieces of giant clam (Tridacna gigas) shells abandoned in Barangay Sibaltan, El Nido on Saturday after a concerned resident reported the sighting to its local station.
El Nido PCG acting station commander Lt. April Bernal said they went to Sitio Buluang on the morning of February 6 to investigate and found the abandoned shells. They then decided to wait near the area to see if anyone would come to claim the shells.
“Ni-report ito sa amin sa messenger ng concerned citizen from Sibaltan. Pinuntahan namin ang area (and) nakita namin sa Sitio Buluang,” Bernal said in an interview Sunday.
“Nagbantay kami magdamag kung mayroong babalik na tao para kumuha para malaman namin kung sino ang may-ari. May info rin kami na noong gabi na ‘yon ishi-ship ang mga clams, so nagbantay kami sa area noong gabi, pero walang dumating,” she added.
After 24 hours of waiting, they proceeded to gather the shells for documentation. That was when three still unidentified persons approached them and claimed that the clams were theirs.
“Ngayong umaga noong pinapahakot na namin para dalhin sa substation, may tatlong tao na lumapit, sabi nila na sa kanila raw yung giant clams. Pero noong hinahanapan namin sila ng mga documents, wala silang mai-present,” said Bernal.
Bernal added that the three persons refused to divulge more information.
“Actually, ayaw nilang mag-salita pero sinasabi nila na kanila raw ‘yon,” she said.
She added that this is the first time they recovered empty giant clam shells in the area.
The recovered shells were brought to the PCG sub-station in Bgy. San Fernando while waiting for personnel from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff.
Under the amended Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, it is illegal to take, catch, gather, sell, purchase, possess, transport, export, forward or ship out aquatic species listed in Appendix I of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), or those categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN,) in which the giant clam species belong to.