By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) in this city has asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the reported loss of seven small bales of seahorses with an estimated value of P2 million inside the BOC bodega located inside the local wharf.
Zamboanga BOC district collector Lyceo Martinez saidTuesday he discovered the loss of seven small bales after the BOC police reported the incident to him. He said the seahorses were confiscated by the Philippine Coast Guard (PGC) while about to be shipped out of the city.
nbi National Bureau of Investigation
In his request letter to the NBI here, Martinez said, “This pertains to the apprehended seahorse that was intercepted by the Philippine Coast Guard at PPA Container Yard last August 16, 2018 that were turned over to this office and stored at the Customs police warehouse.”
“However, seven of the 15 boxes of these dried seahorses are now reportedly missing while being under custody of Customs Police of the BOC,” he said.
Adding “may we respectfully request for an in-depth investigation of the missing seahorse to determine liability of those involved in the incident, particularly employees of the Bureau, if any.”
Martinez said one seahorse can easily be sold at P30,000 per kilo in big cities like Manila, Cebu.
The BOC official also said that the catch and sale of seahorse species is prohibited under Philippine laws and is punishable by fine and imprisonment since they are considered as endangered
Seahorses can be found in shallow tropical and temperate waters and live in sheltered areas such as seagrass beds, estuaries, coral reefs or mangroves.