Photos from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) Staff.

Wildlife protection authorities in Palawan apprehended two individuals at Sitio Bokbok, Brgy. Bebeladan in El Nido town, on Thursday night in a buy-bust operation for the illicit selling of pangolin scales worth P3,500 per kilogram.

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) said the arrest was for violating Republic Act 9147, otherwise known as the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.” Their names are temporarily being withheld pending further investigation.

PCSDS said that more or less 7.5 kilograms of pangolin scales were seized from the two suspects’ possession following the February 23, 7:54 p.m. buy-bust.

PCSDS OIC Acting Executive Director Nino Rey Estoya said Friday that the two suspected wildlife traffickers specifically violated Section 27, Paragraph (e), of RA 9147, which pertains to the illegal trading of wildlife.

According to the law, it is unlawful for any person to willfully and knowingly exploit wildlife resources and their habitats.

“Complaint was filed within the reglementary period. Currently, nasa Office of the Provincial Prosecutor na yung mga accused. Ini-interview sila ni fiscal,” Estoya said.

A follow-up investigation is presently underway, he said, to identify where the two suspects collected the pangolins.

“Subject pa sa follow-up investigation, pero mukhang sa El Nido at Taytay,” Estoya said.

Due to the pangolin’s classification as “critically endangered”, Palawan places a high priority on ensuring its protection and conservation.

The World Pangolin Day is celebrated every February. The aim is to step up awareness as pangolin numbers are quickly falling in areas in Asia where they can be found, like Palawan in the Philippines.

There is a significant demand for the scales of pangolins since they are an ingredient in some traditional remedies, and their meat is regarded as a delicacy in some cultures.