‘THEY KEPT COMING’ A soldier carries a wounded comrade airlifted by helicopter from Al-Barka, Basilan, for treatment in Zamboanga City on Tuesday. At least 19 soldiers of the Special Action Forces were killed in a clash with Moro rebels. A survivor of the ambush said they were outnumbered and overwhelmed. AP
The soldiers were running out of magazines preloaded with bullets and yet Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters kept on coming, said a member of the Army’s Special Forces who survived a nine-hour clash in Al-Barka, Basilan province.
The encounter on Tuesday left 19 soldiers dead.
Private First Class Arnel Balili said that while some 90 Moro rebels were advancing, he and 39 other members of the Special Forces had to spend time loading fresh bullets into empty magazines so they could return fire.
The soldiers were overwhelmed. “We were only 40. There were more of them,” Balili, who was among the 11 wounded soldiers, said from a hospital bed in Zamboanga City.
already a decades old cycle of brother filipino soldiers of the
government among us being clobbered by brother filipino soldiers of
whatever region or ideology among us, and vice versa.
us remember the rape cases the north americans committed against our filipinas
as well as the deaths of our filipino brothers like Gregan Cardeño inside the
facility of a U.S. organization- Liason Coordination Elements in the
Philippines yet have not found closure until now due to blocks from the north
americans. Take note of the mysterious death of Captain Javier Ignacio of
the Philippine Army who was the recruiter of Cardeño for the U.S. organization,
who was gunned down while he was about to meet a filipino group investigating
the Cardeño death. This is also a decades old deficiency of
filipino soldiers among us of being impotent in defending our
brother filipinos against foreign aggression.(1)(2)
many decades have we been under what the U.S. term as, tutelage, protection,
training, technological support, and guidance of the mighty protective north
americans since the 1900s? In all those years, our defense system could
not proceed at any direction of development other than that under U.S. control,
tutelage, protection, training, technological support, policies, guidance and
dependence on. How many decades have we been at war against brother filipinos
in what the the U.S term as insurgency? How many years have been our defense
system been functioning as defense against brother filipinos the situation of
which is equivalent to the autoimmune disease of the immune system of an
individual human entity? In all those years, have we ever been able to develop
a defense system capable of defense against foreign invaders?
all those years that other nations like France, Germany, Israel, Japan, and
Vietnam, developed their nation, how have been their status of economy and
defense? Did they let their economy and defense be controlled by and dependent
on the U.S.?
we let the U.S. continue their tutelage, protection, training, technological
support, guidance, and control of our nation as what they have always been
doing, how many more years will it take before we will this time be able to end
being at war with brother filipinos? How many more years will it take before we
will finally be able to have the economic and defense status of nations
mentioned who have never been controlled by nor dependent on the U.S.?
These are just symptoms of a pathological national defense development.
The AFP is part of the defense system of our nation. No matter how strong
the defense system is, if for its major function, it destroys the people
of its own nation and defends more the foreigners before a situation that is in
conflict with its own people, it will remain dysfunctional. Thus it is
impotent or a mutant.
defense system has a deficiency. It is supposed to follow like normal
biological entities that when a defense system is owned by a certain entity, it
defends that entity against foreign organic or non-organic entities. Once
it destroys part or the whole of the entity to which it belongs to, the defense
system has become auto defense. In a human being entity, this becomes an
autoimmune disease. Such deficiency or dysfunction is merely a symptom of
the underlying cause. There was an infection at some point of development
of the entity.
Birth of Our Nation
of the filipino nation developed in the 1700s to the 1800s as a result of a
developmental intercourse of events in the 1500s to the 1600s involving the
iberians under the Spanish Government and the natives and separate tribes
of the islands on the Southeast Asia and Southwest Pacific. This
developed into a revolution that drove us to a separation from the womb of
Madre España and be born as a Filipino Nation in 1898. From tribes
and petty kingdoms, to a colony, to a revolutionary social organism, we
became a nation.
inherited the organic national Determinant of National Actions from the
founding fathers of our nation. This unwritten code was the factor inherent in
us, in: producing a national character and identity that binds us, as a nation;
driving the direction of our development; and providing cohesion and
continiuity of development thru generations.
that unwritten code within us, as a nation, we developed a system of politics,
defense, judiciary, economy, and education. Being an infant nation, we
struggled to be united, to adapt to the situation, and to control our resources
and direction of our development.
estimated GDP per capita for the Philippines in 1900, the year Spain left, was
of $1,033.oo. That made it the second richest nation in all of Asia, next
to Japan ($1,135.oo), and far ahead of China ($652.oo) or India ($625.oo).(3)
Development of Our Original National Defense System
the birth of our nation in 1898, we had a still infant but normal and even a
vibrant national defense system. It was clear who our defense system
belongs to, for it was clear who we were, not as individuals, not as tribes nor
petty kingdoms, but as a nation.
that stage, we through Gen Antonio Luna developed the Academia Militar.
He recruited quite a number of officers from the Spanish Army to form the
core group of the academia. He transformed the different and assorted
standards of fighting volunteers for the revolutionary stage of our nation into
a professional standard of regular soldiers for the newly born nation.
Our newly developed but infant defense system underwent the ultimate test of
its class and potency when a foreign entity, the north americans, violated our
newly born nation in 1898 by their invasion. Without any aid from any
nation, our defense forces engaged the aggressor forces of the most powerful
nation in the world in 1899. It was our first encounter with a
foreign aggressor force as a filipno nation. We lost in many battles but
we also defeated them in a number of documented battles like Balangiga,
Mabitac, Pulang Lupa, etc.
Down south, the north americans tampered with the development of that area of
our nation, with their Bates Agreement of 1899. It established a kind of
national development that mutated into one of disintegrating development of one
part of the nation from the development of the other parts of the nation.
It was a masterful divide and rule stroke of the enemy forces to
disintegrate the whole of our national defense system. It has a profound
consequence to our national development including national security, today.
Yet, so potent were our defenses that by 1903, the aggressor forces were not
yet able to break our resistance.
G. Davis, Company A, 20th Kansas of the U.S. occupational forces in the
Philippines, wrote about us in the 1900s: "They will never surrender
until their whole race is exterminated. They are fighting for a good cause, and
the Americans should be the last of all nations to transgress upon such rights.
Their independence is dearer to them than life,…".
The aggressor forces of the most powerful nation in the world had to resort to
what terrorists today do- hostage-taking of civilians among us. But at that
time, it was on a massive scale which included extermination of the civilians
among us. According to just the documented reports, among the places
where these form of terrorism took place were in Marinduque, Rizal, Bulacan,
Batangas, Laguna, Albay, and Samar. Their demand: surrender of
those of the defense forces among us. It was because of such terroristic
acts that the defense forces among us were compelled to give in to their
demand. It was because of such terroristic acts that 800,000 to 1,000,000
of us filipinos died.(4)
Developmental Heredity Injuring Virus
a result of our having a weakened physical defense system, the north americans
took over without resistance from us, control of our resources and development
of our systems including our political, defense, economic and education.
These resulted to our organic Determinant of National Actions code within
our systems, being cut off from us. They replaced it with a developmental
code they synthesized which directed our development towards functioning to
sustain the growth of the north american of the United States.
their initial penetration of our defense system, they took brother filipinos
into the Philippine Constabulary, their auxilliary corps to engage brother
filipinos of the filipino defense force. Gradually, their auxilliary
corps, Philippine Constabulary later transformed into the Armed Forces of the
Philippines. Later, more soldiers among us either died or surrendered
that we were cut off from our organic filipino defense forces- our original
Developmental Defense System
lost our physical defenses, we still mounted a defense at the developmental
level against another foreign invader at another front. We engaged the
chinese invasion and taking over of our economic bases in the 1900s, at the
sociological level. However, the north american government and the
chinese government in their homeland, intervened and blocked all our moves
to check the chinese overruning our economic bases. Under U.S. protection,
the chinese in our country have secured legal status over our economy and over
our land. After several years of maneuver, they have developed a strong
sociological and economic clutch over us, impoverished filipinos including the
new generation of materialistically molded political and military
leaders. The chinese have secured covert but strong influence over the
direction of our economic, political, and defense system.
further weakened our economy enough to render us filipinos perpetually economically
dependent. This resulted to our having become perpetually impotent in defending
our nation against foreign occupation.
Foreign Invasion Spreads at the Developmental Level
for Carlos Garcia, we never had any president who could not be controlled by
the United States of North America and stay long as president. All these
presidents are products of U.S. tampered development of our educational system.(5)
we the mass of filipinos are loosing our legal status over our economy and our
land. The only legal status remaining for us, mass of filipinos are that
of OFWs, squatters, employees, and laborers. Today, our defense system
only functions against law breakers who happen to be filipinos, but not anymore
against foreign invaders.
Impotency Dependency Syndrome
has become the characteristics of the soldiers among us: fierce and potent
against brother filipinos who happen to be criminals, and even against brother
filipinos resisting the puppets of the north americans; but impotent against
foreign invasion and control.
was how our defense force, an external defense force was replaced by an
auxilliary armed corps of the north americans in the Philippines. It has
been castrated to perpetually remain and not grow beyond counterinsurgency
capability. As a result, our nation has perpetually remained impotent in
defending ourselves against foreign control. For decades, we have never
been able to be independent.
Abu Sayyaf situation is just the result of the CIA creation of religious
fighters from muslim regions including Mindanao to fight a proxy war against
the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. This is the cause of why many
lives of filipino soldiers among us have been lost to fighting the Abu Sayyaf
We can break this decades old chronic disease of our defense system. We
have identified the underlying cause and the process. We are aware that a
status of a vibrant, world class defense system, did exist for our nation
during the time of our forefathers. It is ours by inheritance from our
forefathers. Therefore, it is ours to recover.
FULL HOUSE The Ceras kept growing, some of them crammed inside their house in Pangasinan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
MANGALDAN, Pangasinan—No regrets for Mensita Edano Cera, 56, who could be your poster girl for or against the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill depending on how you view her story.
Cera, who has given birth to 21 children, said she could have produced more “had I not gone into menopause.”
Only 16 of her 21 children have survived, but she adopted five more and her extended family now also includes 48 grandchildren. Most of the Cera children have only reached high school.
Nana Mensi to her fellow villagers in Barangay Guilig here, Cera lives with husband Emilio, 59, and their two youngest children, aged 17 and 14, in a shanty near a private farm.
Married in 1969 at the age of 15, Cera said she and her husband were aware of family planning programs and contraceptives. “We never tried any of those; we were not interested,” she said. “Although it is difficult to have many children, we do not regret having them. God gave them to us, and we raised them properly.”
Their first child, Delia, was born in 1971 and is now 40. The youngest, Carl Edmund, was born in 1997 and is now 14. Cera also bore twins, Jesse and Mary Ann, in 1973.
Five children—Jun, born in 1972; Maribel, 1976; Pedrito, 1979; Marc Michael, 1983; and Emilio Jr., 1984—have died of either accidents or illnesses.
The rest of the brood include Nestor, born in 1975; Melanie, 1978; Marites, 1981; Ricky, 1982; Angelo, 1985; Michael, 1986; Randy, 1987; Gary, 1988; Mariz, 1989; Maricel, 1990; Dennis; 1991; and Jeffrey, 1994.
“Honestly, had I not gone into menopause, I would have probably had more children,” she said.
Cera gave birth to all her children at home, first aided by a traditional midwife (hilot) and later by a professional. Not once did she suffer complications.
Her surviving children and grandchildren, she claimed, had all grown up healthy. “They rarely get sick. Even though they look thin, they are healthy. They eat regularly and don’t go hungry,” she said.
A diabetic, Cera neither drinks nor smokes.
But to Dr. Ophelia Rivera, health officer of Mangaldan, a mother like Cera may be prone to gynecological problems and heart disease. She may also be susceptible to tooth loss and her bones could easily grow weak.
“The Department of Health’s (DoH) mandate on family planning is on birth spacing, for the woman to regain her nutritional and physical status,” Rivera said.
According to Rivera, the DoH currently recommends spacing births by five to six years—longer than the previously suggested interval of two to three years—to ensure the health of both mother and child.
Told of Cera’s case, particularly her having no regrets about having that many children, the doctor said: “In this case, are (parents like her) really able to provide the basic needs like food, shelter, education? If they live in the slums, then I think not.”
At one point in the Inquirer interview, Cera likened one birth control method to tying a string around a finger and pulling it tight till it causes pain and swelling.
This kind of thinking, Rivera said, was just an example of the common misconceptions on the use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs.
These wrong notions persist because people tend to believe what friends or neighbors say rather than what doctors and health workers tell them, she added.
“Family planning is difficult to sell to those who have limited literacy or educational attainment because no matter how (often) we conduct an information campaign, somehow many still do not understand,” Rivera said.
A DoH survey had shown that many poor people did not avail themselves of family planning services even though these were readily accessible, she said. The town doctor attributed this not to religious beliefs but to misconceptions on the physical effects of family planning methods as well as objections coming from husbands or male partners.
Cera’s eldest child, Delia, and fourth child, Nestor, have seven children each. Her younger children each have five or less.
Cera said the first 10 years of their marriage was a struggle because of the growing brood. “I tried many ways to earn money, mostly by selling any food I can prepare, while my husband worked in the slaughterhouse and took care of farm animals,” she said.
Cera finished high school, while her husband only completed grade school. Now retired, Emilio had worked as a partidor, or butcher—the same job now taken by his sons and sons-in-law.
“Being a partidor then, my husband was able to bring home pieces of meat enough for our growing family, and now that is also what our children do. I think being a partidor is really in our blood,” Cera said.
While the men in the family work at the nearby abattoir, the women are mostly in the food business: tending a small canteen, catering, or preparing rice delicacies and processed meat.
Cera used to own a canteen herself but decided to hand it over to one of her daughters. She also taught her girls how to make sweets and delicacies, engage in direct selling, or do manicure so they could augment their husbands’ incomes.
“I raised my children to live simple lives while being able to provide for themselves. I told them that even though they may not get rich, as long as they work hard and provide for their own families, a simple life is enough,” she said.
When family members gathered for a reunion in 2009, most of them stayed outside since not everyone could be accommodated inside the house.
“My husband and I had a pig slaughtered (for the celebration) but it wasn’t enough to feed everyone so we had to cook some more dishes,” Cera recalled
Most of her married children live near their parents’ house. When they leave home for work, Cera and her husband take care of grandchildren.
Nothing for herself
Cera currently earns a living selling bananas, mangoes and santol—with the earnings almost always going to the care of her grandchildren.
“If you give a peso to one of them, the rest will ask for money, too … So at the end of the day, I barely have anything left for myself,” she said.
But Cera maintained that life was not that hard now. “When I see (my grandchildren) play, I am happy. When they fight or cry all at the same time and I don’t know what to do, I end up laughing because they are so many,” she said.
With a soft spot for children, Cera had even earned an unofficial role as the village “consultant” when it came to parenting.
When Cera once served as barangay council member, a pregnant woman asked if she could shoulder the bills for her forthcoming childbirth. In exchange, Cera could keep the baby.
“I’m really surprised why people think I could be easily convinced to adopt their children when I have so many already. My children also ask me why I always accept them. You see, I am very fond of children,” she said.
Aside from her 21 children, Cera adopted five more boys. During the Inquirer interview, however, she could only remember the complete names of three: Nardy Estrada, Roger Ballesteros and Jeffrey de Guzman.
Asked why she agreed to take them all in, Cera said it was probably because of her past experience as a social worker under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). “Those boys were only 6 or 7 years old when I took them in from the DSWD. Some ran away from home, some were abandoned by their parents. I got them circumcised, clothed and fed them, and they never left (my care) until they all got married,” she said.
“I only take care of them but I don’t give them [our] family name. They keep their own surnames. In fact, one of my daughters married one of my adopted children,” she said.
Cera admitted having difficulty remembering the names and birth years of all her children and grandchildren.
But then, she said, she had made a choice—and that was to raise a full, crowded house, with all its joys and struggles.
WHO DOES SECTION 3 PARAGRAPH 13 OF THE CONSOLIDATED RH BILL PROTECT?
Sec 3 on Guiding Principles of “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011” stated at paragraph 13: The limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to, be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude that makes the allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless.
Is it because the rate of increase of number of lives to be sustained, is faster than the rate of increase of amount of resources that could provide sustenance?
I agree that our material resources are finite as all materials in this world are finite.
Back to thousands of years earlier than 2000 years ago, did the people live in a situation of abundance of material resources for sustenance? Sustenance for material resources was derived merely from gathering and hunting. Was that abundance compared to today? Even during the later period, when agriculture became the technology for material resources sustenance, there was no such mass movements to suppress population growth. There were those who lived with enough. But there were those like the rich and powerful kingdoms who conquered other territories of other kingdoms and slaughtered or enslaved the vanquished and looted their resources as a means to sustain the conqueror kingdom. They lived then, as if resources for them were limited. From those events, was there actually a shortage of material resources at that time? Or was it more of fear due to greed? Was the behavior of people then, towards the share of material resources any different from that of now? The technology then, was mass murder of the living.
TOMORROW- WHAT YESTERDAY AND TODAY FEAR
Today, the same fear of limited resources is gripping us. Yet, despite of all the supposedly more advanced technology for material resources sustenance of the world, why is it that not all families can have food available for them? How is it that today, we can have one family who, aside from owning long chain of supermarkets and large tracks of lands, could very well afford to feed each member of that family of say 12, the quantity equivalent of more than one hundred meals at three times a day if they could accommodate that much in their stomach? Is this amount, not more than the equivalent of three good meals a day for 70 families with 12 children each? Is this amount of food not excess? Yet how is it that today, there are families who could afford to eat that much quantity of food, while there are families of 3 children who could not eat three adequate meals a day? Is this not greed causing hunger?
WHAT DOES RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2011 DEVELOP?
Some of those who belong to such families who could well afford to be fed more than a hundred meals in one mealtime if their stomach could accommodate that much, have blamed families who could not afford to have three meals a day to be lazy but high in offspring productivity. Have they not seen family members with 3 children who had to labor 12 hours a day to be able to eat two times a day everyday because that is the only capability they have as a result of the business of this well-fed family members which: control markets; have contractual policies; have oppressive compensation policies; or which have been displacing small retailers from the areas they have established their own giant businesses? Is this hunger the general result of laziness or too many mouths to feed? Is not the RPRHPD Act of 2011, promoting greed for blaming high population growth as cause of hunger while ignoring greed as the cause? Or is it sustaining lust by providing artificial technology to an imbalance of nature which can be corrected by a long and hard working natural behavioral developmental process?
Is the fear that drove the technology for material resources sustenance of many of the powerful people back in the period of more than 2000 years ago, any different from that of the fear that drives the guiding principles in the RPRHPD Act of 2011 today? Is the technology being pushed not just that of a more subtle technology to block others from opportunities to life so that those who have the capacity to satisfy their greed can have all the opportunities of pursuing it without any hindrance?
CONDOMIZATION OF LIFE
Do we really think that this material world we live in, can be exempted from the universal material process of wear and tear, and from a finite existence? If we believe in this, then if human population existence in it is extended to infinity, this world may be able to sustain it.
But if we think as we have seen from the universal process, that this material world we live in can not be exempted from a finite existence, then why do we attempt to extend human population existence to infinity? Moreover, if we extend material world to infinity assuming we are able to, how are we again to take population management into our hands before a situation where there will be more elderly who by that time again have decreased capacity to carry the burden of the world but by them, increased the load to be carried by the young? Such a burden definitely hampers our life of pleasure.
We are already laying the foundation for a culture of condomization of life reproductive parts or putting in our hands alone, when life of another human being should start. This is based on our life of pleasure. What should stop as now from developing towards condomization of life sustaining parts like the nose or mouth, or putting in our hands alone, when life of another human being should end? This is based on our life of unhampered pleasure.
Is the culture of condomization, the culture of taking life from others so that we may live, the meaning of our life?
Based on scriptures, God our maker taught us to give our life so that others may live. Based on scriptures, he sent his only Son Jesus Christ to pay with his own life here for the damage of our life which we, in our ignorance, indulged into here in this material world. If we do not believe in God, this guide to the meaning of our life can only be validated thru experience. I am not a good person. But in a number of times in my own experiences, I have seen that having given a little of my life so that others may live have given me more than just a little joy seeing what amount of life, recipients around me have received.
The married couple who was arrested for allegedly using their children for cyber pornography in barangay Ibabao, Cordova town, learned about the trade from a neighbor.
So said their eldest son who executed a sworn affidavit to the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) against them yesterday.
The 15-year-old boy was assisted by a psychologist and a social worker in executing the affidavit.
“It is already quite known in the community that other families area also doing these webcam shows from my conversation with my friends and neighbors. In fact, one of my neighbors taught my parents to do these webcam shows to earn money,” he said.
The boy, along with four underage siblings and a female cousin, are now under the custody of the Provincial Women’s Commission.
The boy said he saw his parents order his younger sisters to perform lewd acts against their will.
Based on an investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7), the couple maintained two Yahoo e-mail accounts to lure online clients.
The man and his spouse, who is six months pregnant, are detained at the NBI-7 stockade.
The eldest son recounted how he first witnessed a “webcam” show involving his sisters two years ago.
He said he entered his parents’ room to get a T-shirt and saw his three sisters stripping down in front of a web camera.
“My mother was chatting over the Internet with some foreigners who were viewing them,” said the affidavit obtained by Cebu Daily News.
The boy was at home when NBI agents arrested his parents last Wednesday and rescued the children.
He said his mother and his three siblings and a female cousin were chatting with foreigners over the Internet.
The other children were nude and performed lewd actions in front of the web camera for a fee.
“This is not the first time that my mother and my father told my sisters and even my (13-year-old) brother to strip nude and perform lewd actions in front of foreigners,” he said.
After watching this, the boy said he no longer questioned his parents because he saw them buy groceries and other needs of the house, and understood that was how they earned money even though they were jobless.
He said his parents started to engage in cyber pornography two years ago.
He said his sisters would be told to perform lewd shows in front of the web camera “almost thrice a week.”
“I talked to my sisters, pitied them and urged them to stop but they told me that although they did not like to do these shows, they were forced to do it by my parents since this is the only way for them to earn money.”
So far, only the eldest son issued an affidavit against his parents who face charges of violating Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 and qualified trafficking.
They were also accused of violating Republic Act 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse Law.
The charges will be elevated before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Lapu-Lapu City on Monday.
Workers arrange rare black corals and endangered green sea turtles as they are presented to media in Manila on May 30. AP
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Two days of inspections of warehouses and buying stations of a Zamboanga-based trading company have yielded such a large stash of protected corals, shells and other marine species that two 20-foot container vans were not enough to hold them, the head of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said here Saturday.
BFAR Director Asis Perez said the authorities discovered tons of corals and shells in one warehouse they inspected Saturday in the village of San Roque .
“We saw a still undetermined, huge volume (of corals and shells), much bigger than what were seized in Manila,” he told the Inquirer.
Asked to give an estimate, he said the shells and corals in that particular warehouse of the Li and Lim Trading would not fit in two 20-foot container vans. “I guess more than that and we need to evaluate how large this stash is,” Perez added.
He said a team of experts was expected in Zamboanga “to help us identify, determine and categorize the type of species found at one of the warehouses.”
“We have conducted a thorough search,” he said. “There’s indication of illegal items, we can see illegal items even if we don’t open the boxes, and in the second premises, shells are in boxes and sealed and there were several cuts of still undetermined items,” Perez said.
Rosella Contreras, head of the BFAR’s Fish Inspection and Quarantine Services in Western Mindanao, said among the items they saw inside one of the warehouses were porcelain clams or Hippopus porcellanus, a protected species harvesting of which is banned.
Ahadulla Sajili, BFAR Western Mindanao director, said the fact-finding team has inspected a total of three warehouses since Friday.
Sajili said they also inspected a warehouse operated by Uan Huat Trading, which he said is owned by Joe Pring, also known as Joe Ping, whom he identified as Taiwanese and the husband of Olivia Li and Lim Trading who has made herself scarce in the wake of the seizure in Manila late last months of two container vans filled with black corals and stuffed marine turtles.
In 2007, the authorities also seized protected marine species from Uan Uat’s warehouse and Pring was charged with violating the country’s fisheries laws. The case is still pending.
Chief Superintendent Elpidio de Asis, chief of the Western Mindanao police, said Pring personally welcomed the fact-finding team and allowed it to conduct the inspection of his warehouse.
Meanwhile, Lim found a defender in De Asis.
Citing the permit obtained by Li from the city’s business licensing office, De Asis said the businesswoman was operating a legitimate business.
“This does not look to me like smuggling. Some people were trying to make money and they did not know they were gathering banned marine products,” he said.
But BFAR’s Perez disagreed, saying that a highly organized syndicate could be behind the smuggling of protected corals and shells from this city.
“So many people were involved. People who are gathering and selling, consolidating… there are people making sure it’s transported and people who hide their real identities like the consignee of the one shipped and seized in Metro Manila,” he said.
Perez said, “There’s really a pattern. In other words it’s a pretty well thought of operation, it’s not something you do by impulse, well thought process, well planned, by all indications it’s a syndicated crime.”
Hadji Alano Alihuddin, provincial fisheries officer of Basilan also backed Perez’s statement.
He said village officials in his province could testify that those gathering corals there were escorted by heavily armed men.
But De Asis again rejected the idea of syndicated crime, saying the gathering and selling of corals have become a cottage industry for some fishermen in the Western Mindanao area.
In a related development, the Bureau of Customs said during a meeting with BFAR and other government officials here Friday that it could not possibly detect illegal items shipped out of the port here to other parts of the country.
The BOC said it inspects only cargoes bound for foreign destinations and not inter-island shipments, and pointed to the Philippine Ports Authority as the responsible agency. But PPA officials also washed their hands, saying it was the job of the BOC.
Officials of the Maritime Industry Authority said shipping companies should have also known they were transporting contraband. They said it was unlikely for shipping companies to just allow cargoes without knowing what they were.