By Aaron Recuenco
Authorities have arrested a 36-year old man after he was caught transporting endangered species at a checkpoint in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.
Chief Supt. Emmanuel Luis Licup, director of the MIMAROPA (Mindoro Oriental and Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) regional police, said the arrest of Joshue Arellano was based on a joint operation with the local officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) over reports of continuous hunting of endangered species in the province.
On Saturday, authorities chanced upon a delivery truck being driven by Arellano at a checkpoint along the national highway in Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa City.
“During inspection, it was then that our men and the DENR officers saw the endangered species,” said Licup.
Among those confiscated were a plastic bag containing scales of pangolin, 21 frozen pangolin, a green sea turtle and 15 hawk bill sea turtles.
Philippine pangolins or balintong are endemic to Palawan and are already declared endangered. While pangolins can be eaten, some unscrupulous individuals are hunting the animal for its scale which is believed to have medicinal value.
Dried scales of pangolins are usually being roasted and turned into ashes before being concocted with various substances as it is believed to cure various illnesses.
Sea turtles, on the other hand, are being used in various delicacies. Hunting and killing of sea turtles are also prohibited under Republic Act 9147, or Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources and their Habitats.
Arellano is now facing a maximum penalty of 12 years in jail and a maximum fine of P1 million.
But Licup said additional charges will also be filed against Arellano as the cops also confiscated a handgun from him.
The official said they are now coordinating with the DENR in the conduct of investigation to identify all the cohorts of Arellano.