MANILA — The Bureau of Customs Port of NAIA has intercepted assorted reptiles that were declared as souvenir items.
Closer scrutiny by the customs personnel revealed two (2) venomous spitting cobras, eight (8) pit vipers, and 15 sailfin lizards.
The “ready souvenir items” were concealed inside bamboo chimes and lanterns intended for export to Taiwan last February 18, 2021, in a DHL warehouse.
The package was declared as “souvenir items” by a certain “Adrian Lim” from Pasig City and consigned to a certain “Ryan Su” of Taiwan.
The “souvenir items” were discovered and apprehended thru the joint efforts of the Port of NAIA and offices under; Export Division, Enforcement and Security Service (ESS), Environmental Protection and Compliance Division (EPCD), X-Ray Inspection Project (XIP), Customs Intelligence and Inspection Service (CIIS) and DHL in close coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The said items can fetch as high as P300K each customs examiners said.
The Port of NAIA remains vigilant not only in the interception of illegal drugs but also against the shipment of illegal wildlife trade.
Furthermore, the Port of NAIA, last March 2019 and September 2020, was commended by the Traffic Asia for the confiscation of 1,529 freshwater turtles and tortoises concealed in suitcases and by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the interception of a reticulated python concealed in a rattan basket.
The BOC, under the leadership of Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and other concerned government and regulatory agencies, is committed to strengthening collaboration against illegal wildlife trade for the protection of wildlife, according to Port of NAIA District Collector Carmelita M. Talusan.
The seized cobras, pit vipers, and sailfin lizards were immediately turned over to the DENR for proper handling and disposition, including the consequent profiling and case build-up against the shipper and co-conspirators for illegal wildlife trade in violation of RA 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act) and RA 10863 (Customs Modernization and Tariff Act). (KIARA LAUREN IBANEZ/AI/MTVN)