Customs and fisheries authorities caught its biggest illegal trader of rare aquatic species and corals.
Receiving a tip from an unidentified informant several days ago, Manila authorities monitored its seaports and discovered two container vans declared to carry rubber that turned out to be loaded with endangered and protected marine species such as rare black corals, sea shells and green sea turtles with value of PhP35 million (US$814,000), the PDI said.
Horacio Suansing, Customs Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement told the media on Wednesday, "This is a big loss to our rich marine resources… This is the first big catch of this kind by the Bureau of Customs under the Customs police and enforcement group."
The shipment arrived from Cotabato in southern Philippines and is thought to be destined to either China or Europe.
The smuggled aquatic species is thought to have been illegally harvested from Mangsee Island in western Palawan and near Sulu in the southwestern part of the country.
Exequiel Navarro, the consignee of the shipment is facing criminal case for violation of the Republic Act No. 8550 (Fisheries Code of 1998).
"The law prohibits any person or corporation to gather, possess, sell or export ordinary, precious and semiprecious corals whether in raw or in processed form," said the report.
guilty, Navarro may go to jail for up to 24 months and a fine of PhP500,000 (US$12,000).
Details of this report here.