Dec 13, 2018

During a buy-bust operation, authorities confiscated about 60 kg. of pawikan or green sea turtle meat in an eatery in Pasil, Cebu City on Dec. 11.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Central Visayas Regional Office, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7), and the city government arrested five people—the female cook, cashier, and three male helpers. They refused to say anything to the media including the source of the meat.

One of the seized meats even had a tag that it was rescued by the Sandakan, Malaysia Environment Protection Department. “This species is migratory so when it came to Cebu, perhaps it was captured and killed,” says DENR Senior Ecosystem Management Officer Rogelio Demelletes Jr.

The authorities found the body parts of five to six juveniles and one adult green sea turtle in a cooler inside the eatery.

The shoreline barangay of Pasil is actually notorious for illegal trade of wildlife meat and dishes. In fact, the pawikan stew dish is known as “power” as locals believe that it has aphrodisiac powers. Sold at P90 per serving, it’s deeply patronized by the public including government employees, said Demelletes.

“We want to identify where the supply is coming from because we want to cut this business from there,” says Atty. Habeas Corpuz of NBI Environmental Crime Division, thus a follow-up investigation.

The five arrested people from the eatery were charged with violating R.A. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. It’s punishable with imprisonment of at least six months to one year and a fine of P10,000 to P100,000.

Green sea turtles are on the list of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora. They’ve become endangered because of poaching, slaughter, blast fishing, illegal trade, and pollution.


Read more:

We just can’t leave starfish and other marine creatures alone, can we?

Former mayor brags about eating sea turtle eggs, gets probed by DENR

#FindingCharlie: The vandal of coral life in Batangas

TAGS: cebu city green sea turtle pasil pawikan meat