The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), together with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Aparri, retrieved bonsai species on July 22, 2018 along the shoreline of Diora Zinungan, Sta. Ana, Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP).
The operation was brought by a report to CEZA from a local resident on July 21, 2018 of the sightings of scattered “bonsai” species along the said shoreline. The informant disclosed that the plants were discovered by his son and his company while collecting seashells near the area. The son allegedly noticed two strange orange boats fleeing from the shore near them and, upon his scrutiny of the area where the foreign vessels took off, found the plant species. The species were considered abandoned since the informant could not identify the violators.
Following the standard protocol, CEZA proceeded to the reported scene and confirmed the presence of freshly gathered, well-trimmed and each carefully wrapped species consisting of 16 pieces of “Bantigue” (local name, scientific name: Pemphis Acidula Bonsai) valued at Ᵽ15,000 per piece, and “Igem Dagat or Arius” (local name, scientific name: Podocarpus Costalis) valued at Ᵽ50,000 per piece.
Upon validation of the report and following the standard protocol, CEZA immediately coordinated with DENR-CENRO and proceeded to the site in the early morning of the following day. Both parties confirmed that the incident was in violation of Republic Act 9147, an Act providing for the conservation and protection of wildlife resources and their habitats, appropriating funds therefore and for other purposes, as well as of Republic Act 3983, an Act to protect wild flowers and plants in the Philippine Islands and to prescribe conditions under which they may be collected, kept, sold, exported, and for other purposes. As such, the parties retrieved the items for appropriate action.