Red Corals for Export Seized in Lapu-Lapu City
CEBU CITY -- Several sacks of endangered "red corals" were seized Wednesday by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) from a fashion jewelry factory in Barangay Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City.
Acting on a tip from a concerned citizen, the bureau conducted almost a month of surveillance on Rhicamara Fashions, a jewelry export-import company before applying for a search warrant, NBI executive officer Ernesto Macabare said.
The surveillance confirmed information that "endangered corals" were allegedly used as fashion accessories for export to France and India.
He said 104 sacks filled with "red corals" and shells were seized from Ceilo Ramirez, owner of the jewelry factory.
These corals were used for commercial purposes, Macabare said.
The bureau suspects that the corals were harvested at Mactan island and bought from local fishermen for a minimal amount.
Macabare said they have submitted samples to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to identify the coral species while preparing charges against Ramirez for violating Republic Act 8550 or the Fisheries Code of the Philippines.
"Section 91 of the Code states that it is unlawful to gather, possess, send export ordinary, precious or semi-precious corals whether raw or in processed form except if these are for laboratory or semi-precious corals whether raw or in processed form except if these are for laboratory or research purposes. …