By Alex J. Villanueva, Jr. (PNA)

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Illegal transport of wild animals travel country-to-country from Palawan through fishing boats to Sabah, Malaysia.

ILLEGAL WILDLIFE trading in the Philippines entering the international market has become increasingly alarming, according to a senior programme officer of Traffic Southeast Asia (Traffic SEA).

    ”We are increasingly seeing illegal trade of wildlife animals travel from Palawan by fishing boats to Sabah and eastern Kalimantan area, both from Malaysia to southern China,” said Chris Shepherd of Traffic SEA, an advocate of wildlife protection, during a media conference held at the Legend Hotel recently.

    Shepherd said wild animals travel illegally from country to country throughout Southeast Asia with relative ease and virtually all roads crossing international borders are utilized by smugglers, as border checkpoints are often weak.

    Major air and sea ports in the region are heavily utilized by illegal traders, commonly using false declarations for their cargoes to pass through custom and other law enforcers, he added.

    He noted that fishing boats from southern China are actively harvesting marine turtles in the province’s territorial waters and illegally exports them to consumers in the region.

    ”These marine turtles are found only Palawan, however, these sea creatures can be bought any time of the week from dealers in Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, and increasingly in Los Angeles and Colorado, USA,” he pointed out.

    Another wildlife species being traded in the international market is the scaly anteater or pangolin, which has entered southern China market by tons, he disclosed.

    The population of pangolin, locally known as “balintong,” is rapidly declining and Palawan is one of the few remaining homes in the region.

    Shepherd recognized the province’s richness in wildlife species: Palawan monkeys, parrots, bearcats, peacocks, mongoose, porcupine and mouse deer, among others.

    There are 323 species of wild life in this province, gaining for it the title “Haven of the Philippine Wildlife”.

    He further said wildlife trade is one of the greatest threats to many species of fauna and flora especially in Southeast Asia where biodiversity is high and most of the tropical rainforests can be found.

    In the three-day CITES and Wildlife Act Enforcement Training Workshop here from November 7-9, Shepherd is educating wildlife law enforcers and related agencies on the implementation national legislation like Republic Act 9147 (Wildlife Act) and CITES-Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to combat wildlife trafficking.

    Traffic SEA, a wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. It is a joint programme of World Wildlife Fund and IUCN-The World Conservation Union.

    The workshop, attended by 80 participants, was a collaborative effort of Traffic SEA, Katala Foundation Inc. and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS).

Ni Ines B. Tagacay

KASABAY NANG paggunita ng pista ng mga patay, naging kalunos-lunos ang sinapit ng isang pamilya sa Barangay Plaridel, Aborlan makaraang walang awang pagtatagain at sunugin ang kanilang bahay.

     Ang insidente ay naganap dakong 9:00 ng gabi noong ika-31 ng Oktubre taong kasalukuyan sa nabanggit na lugar.

     Kinilala ang mga biktima na sina Ariel Abenir, 29 taong gulang; Amy Abenir, 20; at ang 10 buwang gulang na sanggol ng mga ito na itinago sa pangalang baby Sarah. Sila ay pawang mga residente ng Sitio Apis sa bayan ng Aborlan.

     Patay ang sanggol matapos na maubusan umano ito ng dugo dahil sa tinamo nitong taga sa kanang paa habang sugatan at nasa krtikal na kalagayan ang mga magulang nito. Ang ina na si Amy ay nagtamo ng limang taga sa iba’t-ibang parte ng katawan, samantalang ang ama na si Ariel ay apat na taga.

     Kinilala naman ng mga awtoridad ang mga suspek na sina Jojo Aquino, Sonny Canja, Jojo Canja, Rolando Belyado at isang Larry Aquino, pawang mga residente rin ng nabanggit na lugar.

     Ayon sa salaysay ng ama na si Ariel, ang mga suspek ay armado umano ng patalim na lumusob sa kanilang tahanan dahil pinagbintangan umano silang nagpakalat ng tsismis na diumano’y nagnakaw ang mga ito ng manok at inggitan na rin sa ginagawang hanapbuhay na pag-uuling.

     Dahil umano sa galit ng mga suspek ay dinaan na lamang siya sa inuman at ng malasing siya ay pinagtataga na sila ng mga suspek. Hindi pa nakontento ang mga suspek ay sinunog pa ng mga ito ang tahanan ng mga biktima.

     Pagpapakalat ng tsismis, ito umano ang maaaring motibo ng mga suspek. Base sa ulat, ang mga suspek ay may dating kasong arson at pagnanakaw na kinakaharap sa lalawigan ng Iloilo.

     Tila naman dismayado si Aborlan Mayor Celsa Adier dahil sa makupad diumanong aksyon ng pulisya upang m-resolba ang kaso.

     Inihayag pa niya na may kapabayaan din ang pamunuan ng Barangay Plaridel sa bayang nabanggit dahil wala umano itong nagawang assistance para sa mga naging biktima ng pananaga.

     Sa kasalukuyan, nadakip na rin ng mga awtoridad ang dalawang suspek na sina Belyado at Aquino at kusa namang sumuko ang isa pang suspek na si Canja sa  barangay chairman ng Apoc-Apoc. Patuloy pa rin ang ginagawang paghahanap ng mga awtoridad sa iba pang sangkot sa naturang krimen.

     Samantala, dalawang kaso ang posibleng isampa sa mga suspek bagama’t hanggang sa isinusulat ang balitang ito ay hindi pa binabanggit kung ano ang mga ito.

By Geraldford P. Ticke

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Commodore Ruperto Rico C. Borromeo of Western Command braces for media interview regarding insurgency in Palawan.

WESTERN COMMAND chief Commodore Ruperto Rico C. Borromeo confirmed last week that terrorist group Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is indeed recruiting members in the province of Palawan.

    Borromeo said two of the six ASG members captured here a few weeks ago were actually recruited here to participate in the group’s supposed plan to wreck havoc in the province, particularly in the City of Puerto Princesa.

    Abu Daizer alias Dayzer Yusof and Jemar Alfa, with aliases Abu Jafaar and Jemaar, were actually recruited to become members here, he said. “They were to form what we call the Urban Terrorist Group and were planning to bomb different strategic locations in the city last September 11,” he said.

    He, however, said that with the arrest of the six, terror threats in the province have been prevented. “Their cell here is already neutralized,” he said. But he also cautioned residents of possible new recruitments. “Their cell here has been crippled and badly hurt but there is still a possibility for them to regroup,” he explained.

    He likewise said that right now, they are still looking into the killing of a military asset in Bataraza after the six were captured. “We are still trying to find out who is responsible for that and if this is connected with the arrests,” he said.

    He urged the leaders of Al Farouq Institute (AFI) to keep their guards up against possible entry of lawless elements in their ranks. “They might not know that they are being used,” he said, referring to the arrest of one of their members.

    Aside from those who were captured, Zainodin Gumubat alias Abu Hani, a former director of the institute, was arrested after a search in his house uncovered several materials and devices used for making improvised explosives.

    Borromeo credits good intelligence and continued offensive operations as necessary steps to prevent terrorist groups from growing bigger. “Just like what happened here, good intelligence coordination between the different operatives of the Armed Forces resulted to our success,” he said.

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