The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) yet again issued another warning to the public regarding a criminal modus using the council and its executive director’s name in the conduct of illegal trade of wildlife.
According to a statement on Thursday, two individuals identified as “Paraka”” and “Mirano”” have been presenting themselves as a staff of PCSDS Executive Director Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta in order to purchase lobster fry, or juvenile lobsters.
“It was also reported to us that Paraka and Mirano were using threats and intimidation to persuade the traders into selling lobster fry. These corrupt activities of unscrupulous individuals like Paraka and Mirano were known to have been going on for the last three to four weeks,” the statement read.
The statement added that the two were last monitored operating in Roxas town, particularly in the town proper and in Barangay Caramay. According to PCSDS spokesperson Jovic Fabello, the council is coordinating with various authorities to apprehend them.
“[They will be referred to the] PCSD and BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) if they don’t have permit to engage in the collection and trading of lobster fry. PNP (Philippine National Police) for coercion activities, misreprentation and false identity,” said Fabello in an interview Thursday.
Buying lobster fry and even adult lobsters in Palawan is heavily regulated by national laws and provincial ordinances to ensure that local lobster populations are not vulnerable to depletion. In February, the Provincial Board approved Provincial Ordinance No. 2475, which states the various guidelines for the local lobster industry. Under the ordinance, the provincial government can impose moratoriums and closed seasons to make sure local lobster populations can recover and reproduce. The ordinance also sets the minimum buying price of lobster to not lower than P100, which protects lobster catchers from exploitative buyers.