Raid in General Santos yields 2,000 geckos
GENERAL SANTOS CITY—Government agents on Tuesday seized 2,000 geckos from a trading company here and are now preparing charges against the company owners and others believed involved in collecting and trading the protected species.
Senior Supt. Albert Fierro, director of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Central Mindanao, on Wednesday said the raid on Mindanao Development Venture and Trade in Barangay Lagao was carried out by agents of the CIDG, the National Bureau of Investigation and other police units after the company was found to be engaged in the buy and sell of geckos.
The capture and trade of geckos had been outlawed.
Fierro quoted Mario Librada Legazpi, owner of the trading company, as saying his company was collecting the geckos for use in organic farming.
Fierro, however, said representatives from the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources are not buying Legazpi’s story.
Fierro said PAWB representatives believe that the geckos were being sold to collectors who crush the animals into powder in the belief that these have medicinal value.
In other countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, geckos are being passed off as cure for cancer and even the human immunodeficiency virus.
A 300-gram gecko could fetch P45,000 in the black market. Openly trading in geckos, a protected species, is prohibited in the Philippines.
“The payoff for the 2,000 geckos was supposed to take place on Wednesday but we were able to prevent it,” said Fierro.
He said charges of violation of the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act were now being prepared against Legazpi and his companions.
The seized reptiles, meanwhile, would be released back into the wild, he said. Aquiles Z. Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao
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