DENR Bicol files raps vs coastal residents for sea turtle slaughter

DENR files for initial investigation anti-wildlife protection charges at the Camarines Sur Provincial Prosecution Office against Edmar Diaz, and others for the deliberate slaughter of a leatherback turtle in Bgy. Magtang, Tinambac, Camarines Sur. The act violates Sec. 27 paragraph (a) of Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act which prohibits the killing and destroying of wildlife species.

In an affidavit, a resident of said barangay declared that on October 19, 2013 he saw the accused persons pulling a rope tied to the neck of a sea turtle coming out of the water. The turtle was seen to be moving when the accused carried it near the shore. A video footage of the incident was taken by another resident using his own mobile phone.

In an investigation conducted by DENR Camarines Sur personnel, the Brgy. Chair Gina Bernarte admitted having learned from a text message of a sea turtle entangled in a fish net. She said they touched the eye of the turtle and found the mouth filled with sand in an effort to determine whether or not the turtle was alive. When they returned it to the sea they claimed it no longer moved, hence they concluded it was dead. She was later informed that six persons, the accused included, slaughtered it.

In the complaint-affidavit of DENR CENRO Goa executed by Vivencio Cabanayan Jr., cited the circumstances leading to the slaughter of the turtle indicated that he has reasons to believe the persons violated RA 9147. The leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, is an endangered species under DAO 2004-15, hence, covered by RA 9147.

Press Release: October 31, 2013