An estimated 25,000 kilos of empty giant clam shells worth P25 million were seized by local officials in Sitio Dandulit in the village of Buliluyan in the southern Palawan municipality of Bataraza on Tuesday morning.
Local resident Junie Ocampo, whom the authorities believed to be the owner of the seized taklobo shells, was reportedly due to trade them illegally to an unidentified buyer when personnel from the barangay, Naval Forces West (NFW), and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) intercepted the operation.
Jovic Fabello, the spokesperson of the PCSD, said per kilo of empty giant clam shells sells P500 to P1,000. However, this depends on what the buyers tell the collectors.
He the public is warned against trading giant clam shells because it is illegal under Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Act.
“Modus operandi yan ng mga buyers, nagba-vary sa area-to-area na dina-jack up yong prices. Pero kapag nakarating na sa buyer, magha-haggle at hindi naman yon ang tunay na bilihan. Ang iba mapipilitan dahil andoon na ang items,” he said.
“Another thing bawal sa Wildlife Act ang collecting ng by-products and derivatives ng wildlife species katulad ng taklobo,” Fabello added.
The items are now under the custody of local officials, who are now preparing to file a formal case against the owner.
“Collecting, hunting, or possessing wildlife, their by-products, and derivatives” without proper documentation from the authorities is a violation of Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Act, he said.