By Benjamin Lim Vergara
THE Bureau of Customs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Wednesday confiscated 12 juvenile pythons at the Central Mail Exchange Center in Pasay City.
Port of NAIA Collector Carmelita Talusan said the exotic snakes were concealed inside a package and “were misdeclared as Taro chips from Indonesia.”
Market price of these newly-hatched snakes ranges from PhP5,000 to PhP20,000.
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), a full-grown reticulated python snake, which is considered the world’s longest and heaviest snake that usually constrict its prey, can weigh as much as 30-40 kilograms and grow as much as 17 to 18 feet on an average.
The BOC-NAIA noted that importation of such wildlife species without the necessary permits is a violation of Section 117 in relation to section 1401, CMTA, RA 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation & Protection Act) and Republic Act No 8485, otherwise known as The Animal Welfare Act of 1998.
The non-venomous python snakes which recently arrived in CMEC were turned over to DENR representatives led by lawyer Andres Mikhail Villaruel for proper handling and protection.
Talusan stressed that in the first two weeks of October 2018 alone, in its dedication to protect the public, the environment and the Philippine wildlife, Port of NAIA has apprehended one live mangrove snake and 250 live Gecko lizards which were also turned over to the Bureau of Animal Industry and DENR.