TACLOBAN CITY: Seven persons have been slapped with criminal charges before the Department of Justice, Samar Provincial Prosecutors Office, Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Basey, Samar after they were arrested by members of the Marabut, Samar police for illegally collecting from environmentally protected caves accumulated guano or bat droppings estimated to be worth P1.5 million.
Lt. Fernando Calabria Jr., Marabut acting police chief, identified the arrested suspects as Rodolfo Esco, Geronimo Novio, Jjon Rel Esco, Ramil Bachao, John Mar C. Esco, Joven Esco and Ronald Esco Tagapan, all residents of Barangay Caluwayan, Marabut town.
He said the seven suspects are now facing charges for violation of Section 7, paragraph B of Republic Act 9072 or the “National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act.”
Calabria, in a press statement, said they arrested the seven suspects on October 1, in an islet at Barangay Caluwayan, Marabut town after they failed to present any legal documents or permits to operate in collecting the cave resources.
He said they confiscated from the suspects no less than 500 sacks of bat droppings, illegally collected from the caves of Barangay Caluwayan.
“This accomplishment only attests that we are implementing zero tolerance against any illegal activities in our area of jurisdiction, particularly those violations against the protection of the environment. We are again urging the public to join with us in this advocacy,” Calabria said.
The guano was about to be shipped and sold in Metro Manila as an additive in organic fertilizers, sources told The Manila Times.