By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY — Fossilized giant clams, or ‘Taklobo’, amounting to P36 million, were seized by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) – Central Visayas and personnel of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in separate barangays in Cordova town, Cebu.
The giant clams were confiscated from a couple and three others persons in separate operations in Barangay Catarman and Barangay Day-as last Wednesday.
NBI 7 regional director Tomas Enrile said charges for violation of Republic Act 10654, or the Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, have been filed against George Oldama and his wife Bebing Oldama, Rowena Tajanlangit and two other men.
Enrile said it took a month of monitoring to confirm that the suspects were selling giant clams.
The NBI 7 director said the clams were being sold for P18,000 to P20,000 per kilo.
Following the operations, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Central Visayas (BFAR Region 7) Director Alfeo Piloton appealed to the public to report immediately to authorities persons possessing or collecting fossilized giant clams.
Piloton said collecting, possessing or selling fossilized giant clams are strictly prohibited under existing laws.
BFAR 7 said fossilized giant clams are also protected under international policies, particularly listed under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) Appendix II.