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Authorities find freshly cut mangroves in Johnson Island

Along with the 324 giant clam shells confiscated in Barangay Johnson Island, authorities also recovered 126 freshly cut mangrove trunks reportedly owned by barangay captain Augusto Abonales, Coast Guard Puerto Princesa City Station chief, Commander Severino Destura said.

In an earlier report, authorities discovered 324 giant clams weighing 80 tons and is estimated to be worth P160 million in an operation jointly conducted by Bantay Dagat, Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 (MBLT-3), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“Last October 12, mayroong operation doon sa lugar at iniwan namin ang 60 pieces na giant clams dahil walang masakyan. Kahapon binalikan [namin] with PCSDS para sa inventory at para i-recieve na rin,” Destura said.

“Habang isinasagawa ang inventory, yung mga law enforcers natin ay nagsagawa ng sweeping sa lugar at may mga nakita pang additional 264 pieces. Ibig sabihin naka-costudy na doon pero tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang ganitong activity nila sa kabila ng nagkaroon na ng confiscation,” he added.

Destura also said the area is directly under Abonales’ supervision. “Ang lugar na ‘yon ay under supervision ng kapitan at nabanggit nya din na alam nya ang ganitong activity ng mga constituents nya sa community niya,” Destura said.

Accordingly, Abonales admitted that he owns the cut mangroves. “In-admit na niya na sa kanya ang mga bagong putol na mangrove. Hindi pa tapos ang investigation pero may mga admittion at witnesses na rin,” Destura said.

Currently, 12 pieces of clam shell and 126 pieces of mangrove are in the custody of PCSDS and the remaining 312 clams are under custody of the barangay.

“Dinala ng PCSDS ang 12 pcs. lang na clam shell at ang 126 na kahoy, ang naiwan na 312 na giant clams ay pina-custody pa rin natin kay kapitan,” he said.

Palawan News tried to get the Abonales’ side but he did not respond.

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