BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
About nine tons of fossilized and fresh giant clams, locally known as taklobo, were recovered by the local police and Maritime Command personnel in a joint operation on October 26 and 27 in Sitio Ondol, Brgy. Cayhagan, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.
Maj. James Latayon, acting Sipalay City police chief, disclosed that seven tons of taklobo were seized in plain view on October 26 at Sitio Ondol, Brgy. Cayhagan, Sipalay City.
Two suspects identified as Cheryll Pat Ababao of Brgy. Cayhagan, and Eriño Targalila, of Brgy. Camindangan, all of Sipalay City, were also arrested by the police.
Latayon, however, said that they released the two arrested suspects, after the lapse of 12 hours reglementary period of detention.
The seized giant clams estimated to have a market value of P490,000.
Latayon said that both suspects are being expected to be charged today in court for violation of section 102 of RA 10654 that bans the taking of endangered species
Following the seizure on Wednesday, Latayon said that a resident of the same barangay, surrendered on October 27 about 2,000 kilos more of taklobo.
The confiscated taklobo are now in the possession of the PNP Maritime Group unit stationed in Hinobaan, Negros Occidental.
The endangered clams taken from the territorial waters of Brgy. Cayhagan in Sipalay City, are being delivered to Chinese buyers in Manila, according to Latayon.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources warned that collecting and selling giant clams (Tridacna gigas) locally known as “taklobo” are prohibited.
The violation is stipulated under Section 102 of RA 10654, which states the prohibition on “fishing or taking of rare, threatened or endangered species.,” of Republic Act 10654 or “An Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing” that amended RA 8550 or “The Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.”
According to the Endangered Species International, giant clams fill a valuable role as filter feeders, cleaning the water of pollutants as they ingest algae or plankton.
They can reach around 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) long in size and weigh up to 200 kilograms (440 lbs.) It has been estimated that giant clams can live up to 100 years.*