The dead Turtle that was found by divers in Moalboal.
Photo: Kalle Epp Facebook

Philippines: Moalboal mayor offers P50K reward to find Turtle’s killer
By Morexette B. Erram, 1st December 2017;

Mayor Inocentes Cabaron will give a P50,000 cash reward to those who can provide information leading to the identification and arrest of person/s responsible for the killing of a Green Sea Turtle (pawikan) (Chelonia mydas) in Moalboal town, southwest Cebu last Wednesday.

“We are offering P50,000 to any person who could give information leading to the identification and arrest of the person or people concerned,” Cabaron said in a text message yesterday.

In a follow-up phone interview, the mayor said, this is the second time a Green Turtle was killed intentionally. The first one, he said, happened in 2006 or 2007 wherein a person smashed the head of the creature with a bottle.

“Our constituents were outraged. And we (from the local government) felt the same. This is why we are offering a P50,000 cash reward because killing the Green Sea Turtle is a blow to our tourism industry,” he stated.

Data from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) revealed that there are at least four sanctuaries in the waters of Moalboal town that became world-famous diving spots.

Initial reports from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR–7) and the Tourist Police of Moalboal showed that the reptile was found by divers floating dead with a wound believed hit by a spear gun in Sampaguita Reef off the coast of Barangay Basdiot, Moalboal.

DENR–7 information officer Charmi Regudo told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview that the agency’s Tañon Strait Protected Seascape task force is still verifying the cause of its death.

She also said that they are still conducting investigation on the matter.

Regudo said that according to the tourist police unit, the Turtle would have been dead for around three to four days before it was found by divers.

“The dead Turtle was already turned over to the Bantay Dagat on Thursday,” said Regudo.

Spear gun fishing is banned in marine sanctuaries in Moalboal, located more than 88 kilometers southwest of Cebu City.

The photo of the dead Green Turtle posted on Kalle Epp Facebook page last Wednesday, went viral and generated more than 7,300 reactions from netizens and shared across the platform at least 3,230 times.

“We have found a dead Turtle this morning at the coral reef near Sampaguita, not far from our dive shop. By all means it looks like it has a spear gun wound in the neck. We are outraged!” the photo caption reads.

Meanwhile, Penro also offered to help trace the killer of the Green Turtle.

Rommel Kirit, Penro senior environment manager, said they were now coordinating with the local officials, law enforcers, fisherfolks’ organization, and owners of diving shops to obtain information about the incident.

“While DENR–7 is probing the matter, we will help by tracing the hunter,” said Kirit.

Kirit said that the Bantay Dagat in Moalboal buried the Turtle yesterday morning since it was already in a state of decomposition.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

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