PCSD warns public against posers selling wildlife

A flock of Philippine cockatoos (katalas). || Photo by Dre dela Cruz

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) once again warned the public of persons illegally trading wildlife and claiming to be a PCSD staffer. 

PCSDS spokesperson Jovic Fabello said the council was concerned about an incident in Balabac town where an individual was reported to be selling Philippine cockatoos (Cacatua haematuropygia) or “katala” and posing as a PCSD official.

“A person asked us thru our PCSD Facebook page if we have an employee known as Harvin Sarmiento. She said this guy is selling her a katala at 3,500 each and telling her that he is an employee of the PCSDS and the katala is registered in the office. Thru Internet ang modus nito,” Fabello said in an interview Monday.

He added that they will be launching an investigation on Sarmiento, but their contact has not yet given sufficient information. Posing as PCSD officials is not new, Fabello added, as this has been documented in giant clam (Tridacna gigas) apprehension cases.

“Binaliktad na nila ang kwento. PCSD daw ang nagbebenta ng taklobo sa mga buyers. Kunwari daw huhulihin namin tapos kami din daw magbebenta. ‘Yan ang fake news na kumakalat ngayon sa baba. Scam talaga,” said Fabello.

“We expect a lot more disinformation campaigns that will happen to discredit us in our efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade in Palawan. We are still in the process of capacitating our staff’s digital enforcement capability (which is also included in our BRAIN system). Mahirap talaga mag track at mag monitor sa digital platform,” he added.

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