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PIA Press Release
2009/10/30

4 bodies to probe tarsier abuse incident in Loboc

Tagbilaran City (30 October) -- AT least four bodies would have their hands full in conducting separate probes in aid of legislation over the recent resurfacing maltreatment of tarsier incident in Loboc.

Bohol's adorable wildlife showcase, the nocturnal insectivores called tarsiers have been listed as threatened species and tourist establishments with tarsiers need a Department of Environment and Natural Resources permit to display tarsiers to tourists.

Board member Alfonso Damalerio argued earlier that protecting the threatened tarsiers should mean banning their display in areas outside the conservation site in Corella town.

Damalerio has authored a Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) ordinance to the effect, which, sources said, has awaited the governor's concurrence before it could be implemented.

Over the reported animal abuse, the Bohol SP has tasked its Tourism, Environment and Public Accountability Committees to conduct separate investigations.

The probes' outputs should be basis for recommendations and future action against the owners and operators of tarsier establishments as well as the foreign Asian tourists and their tour guide Jacinto Tan, says a legislator who asked not to be named.

Meanwhile, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Nestor Canda said his agency would probe the incident, clarifying further that his office has not issued any more wildlife permits to the tarsier establishments in Loboc.

He clarified that present permits obtained were issued by the DENR Regional Office and were processed here but he did not issue its renewal as yet.

Tourism Committee Chair Corazon Galbreath in a radio admitted that she is alarmed by the incident and added that she has foreseen the problem with the perception that even the local government is adverse to the SP ordinance.

It may be recalled that a certain Rachel Moralla took and amateur video of the incident she reported to authorities.

The Moralla video uploaded at youtube, dated October 25 showed Asian foreign guests force-feeding the tarsiers at SuperCarp.

The video also showed tourists using midribs with pierced crickets and poking at the animals, which DENR listed as threatened species.

Moralla, who personally explained to tourists about the no-touching, no flash policy was allegedly threatened by Tan, a Cebuano tour guide.

The complainant filed her suit at the Loboc Tourism Office and the reportedly at the Police Station.

Bohol Tourism Officer Josephine Cabarrus, in a radio interview admitted that the tarsier display in Loboc has long been a tourism concern in Bohol.

A concerned citizen also opined that the DENR should have done something as soon as the issue on protection and conservation cropped up. It has done exactly nothing, she bemoaned. (PIA) [top]

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