Probe bureau to arrest 'tuko' buyers

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011


THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will launch a crackdown on buyers, not on sellers, of "tuko" (Philippine gecko) in the Davao Region to finally stop the capture of this endemic creature.

NBI-Davao Director Max Salvador said they are now looking into reports of "tuko" selling in the region, but have yet to make arrests.

He said anyone caught will be charged with violation of Republic Act (RA) 9147, otherwise known as Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, which provides for the "conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats, appropriating funds therefore and for other purposes."

"Kami ay manghuhuli ng mga nanghuhuli ng tuko. We have a memorandum of agreement with the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) about the implementation of this law on natural resources," Salvador said.

He said the NBI is also tasked to assist environment agencies in implementing environment and wildlife protection laws.

"So we are authorized to conduct operation," Salvador said.

He said NBI in Davao is conducting strict implementation of RA 9147 since "tuko" is now considered endangered.

According to Section 5 of RA 9147, endangered species are referred to as the species or subspecies that are not critically endangered but whose survival in the wild is unlikely if casual factors continue operating.

Violators shall be meted a maximum imprisonment of six years and will be fined P100,000 to P1 million.

Reports showed rampant "tuko" selling due to the alleged high buying price ranging P5,000 to P500,000 for a 400-gram gecko. Most buyers are reportedly Chinese and Koreans who believe that the animal can cure major illnesses like cancer and HIV-Aids.

Founder of Aids Society of the Philippines Dr. Ofelia Monzon earlier said that "tuko" has not yet been proven to cure serious ailments.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 07, 2011.

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