THE Bureau of Customs-Port of NAIA intercepted a package containing a total of 20 endangered tarantula spiders and eight scorpions illegally smuggled through Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) on January 6, 2021.
BOC-NAIA District Collector Mimel Talusan said that 28 plastic containers individually housing the tarantulas and scorpions were found upon opening of the package. Records further show that the package from Samut Parakain, Thailand was misdeclared as “teaching equipment”, and imported without the necessary import permits.
Talusan said the tarantulas and scorpions were transferred and turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (DENR WTMU) for rehabilitation and care.
Notably, she said, the BOC-NAIA also intercepted 119 tarantulas from Poland concealed in a pair of rubber shoes last October 2020.
Illegal importation, collection and trade of endangered wildlife are punishable by imprisonment of six years and a fine of P200,000.00 under Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act.
Under Section 1401 of the CMTA, unlawful importation of goods with appraised value of more than P250,000 including duties and taxes, is penalized by imprisonment of not less than 30 days and 1 day but not more than 6 months, or fine of not less than P25,000.00 but not more than P75,000.
Talusan said that in compliance with the directive of BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on intensified border protection, they continue to man the air cargo terminals and warehouses 24/7 to check on illicit goods and those which requires necessary permits.
BOC-NAIA is also one with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in upholding the conservation and protection of wildlife and deterring wildlife smuggling, Talusan said.