Army unit facilitates release of captured sea turtle in Castilla
By Benilda A. Recebido
CASTILLA, Sorsogon, Philippines — A sea turtle locally known as “pawikan” measuring 29 inches length and 27 inches width was caught by a fisherman and brought to the 903rd Brigade headquarters on Friday, February 22.
903rd Bde Spokesperson Capt. Mardjorie Paimela P. Panesa, said the turtle was brought to the headquarters by Eugene I. Gilliam, a Bantay-Dagat member, who also reported that it was seen captured by a certain, Welard Camata, a fisherman in the same town.
“Immediately, we reported the incident to the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (Menro), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and Provincial ENRO-LGU, the primary agencies concerned for recovery and release of marine species as such. Our brigade assisted them in releasing the turtle at the seaport of Brgy. Poblacion, Castilla, Sorsogon,” said Capt. Panesa.
She also said that no BFAR tag was seen in the turtle, an indication that it was captured and released for the first time. However, since there was no available tag at that time, BFAR instead tied a plastic knot at the lower part of the turtle’s shell for marking purposes.
Colonel Joselito E. Kakilala, 903rd Brigade commander said, it was the first time he saw a pawikan caught since he was installed as brigade commander.
He reminded local residents, especially those residing in the coastal barangays of Castilla to immediately report and inform concerned agencies or report to the 903rd Brigade once they catch marine turtles.
He likewise appealed to the local folks not to capture, slaughter, nor eat such endangered species because there are penalties set for those who will be caught doing so. “As responsible citizens, we should be protectors of these marine species because nowadays, pawikans are rarely to be seen,” he added.