Task force seizes endangered trumpet shells in D’bantayan

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva August 26,2014 - 09:22 AM

Several sacks of sea shells, including the endangered trumpet shell or “budyong”, were seized late Sunday night in the New Port of Daanbantayan town, northern Cebu.

Crew members were transferring the trumpet shells (Cassis cornuta) to a waiting truck at the dock when the provincial task force on anti-illegal fishing chanced on them at 11:30 p.m.

Task force chief Loy Madrigal said the fishing vessel was placed under surveillance last week but managed to slip out.

The task force seized 12 sacks of shells from the pumpboat and 27 sacks inside the Isuzu Elf truck.

The shells, which are exported for decorative items, have an estimated commercial value of P500,000 said Madrigal.

Madrigal said in a text message that the shipment came from Esperanza, Masbate province and was supposed to be delivered to a shell craft factory in Pagsabungan, Mandaue City.


Nine crew members, including a minor, from Esperanza, Masbate, and the truck driver from Kawit, Medellin, are detained at the Daanbantayan police precinct and will be charged tomorrow with violation of RA 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.

The shells and the truck are in the custody of Daanbantayan police.

Madrigal identified Antonio Batahoy of Esperenza, Masbate, as the pumpboat operator and the owner of the shell factory where the shipment was to be delivered.

He said Batahoy operates another fishing vessel previously intercepted by the task force for carrying dynamite.

Death threat

The seizure was a joint operation of the Bantay Dagat teams of Daanbantayan and San Remigio towns.

“Budyong”, which belongs to the genera Triton, Charonia and Cassis, is protected under Fisheries Administrative Order 158 which prohibits its accumulation, possession and sale.

Provincial police said they were ready to reinforce security escorts of Loy Madrigal after the head of the anti-illegal fishing task force of Cebu province said he received another death threat in a text message.

“Duna daw taga norte mehire ug hitman nidown ug half milyon para itumba ka,” (There is someone in north (Cebu) who hired a hitman for P500,000 to take you down),” Madrigal quoted his security escort as informing him.

“I received death threats earlier this year when I used to catch a lot of commercial fishing vessels but I stopped getting them when I wasn’t handling these cases anymore. But now that I’m at it again, I’m not surprised to get new threats,” Madrigal said.

No hindrance

He said commercial fishing vessels lose half a million pesos for each day they don’t go out to sea when their ship is impounded.

Madrigal said he’s not bothered by the threat.

“We will go on with our operations. I will not allow one threat to be a hindrance,” he said.

Some task force volunteers left after they received death threats earlier this year, Madrigal said.

Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, Cebu provincial police chief, said he’s ready to provide additional security detail for Madrigal.

“Definitely, there are businessmen who may have been hurt by the operations conducted by Madrigal,” Gillamac said.


In April 2006, Bantay Dagat Cebu City Coordinator Elpidio “Jojo” dela Victoria was shot dead at home in San Roque, Talisay City by a hired gunman. His death was directy linked to his aggressive operations at sea against illegal fishing operators.

A policeman, SPO1 Marcial Ocampo was sentenced to 20 to 40 years for the murder.

Two accomplices and the mastermind have not been identified. Dela Victoria had been receiving prior warnings that a P1 million contract was put out for his head. /With Correspondent Apple Mae Ta-as

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TAGS: Daanbantayan, San Remigio, shells

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