MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will file charges against the 11 Chinese poachers arrested off Palawan, BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison said on Saturday.
The BI "will file all illegal entrants to the country including those recently intercepted Chinese poachers," Mison said on his Twitter account.
The 11 arrested Chinese fishermen, who are now in the custody of the Palawan police, are facing charges for violation of Sections 87 (Poaching in Philippine Waters) and 97 (Fishing or Taking of Rare, Threatened or Endangered Species) of Republic Act 8550 or the Fisheries Code of the Philippines.
They are also facing charges for violation of RA 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
Inquest proceedings were initially scheduled on Friday, but were postponed and reset on Saturday due to lack of an interpreter.
On Saturday, however, no interpreter was still available.
Inquest proceedings will proceed on Monday, provincial prosecutor Atty. Allen Ross Rodriguez said.
Members of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) as well as the Philippine Army's Western Command are conducting a joint inventory on the vessel of the Chinese poachers.
The Chinese vessel docked at Honda Bay, Barangay Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa at around 6 a.m. Saturday.
Wildlife experts are determining the species of the sea turtles that were part of the illegal haul.
Results of the initial inventory showed that 120 sea turtles were found alive while 234 were found dead upon the apprehension.
The live turtles have been released back into the sea while the BFAR will look for a place to bury the dead turtles.
Meanwhile, the Western Command is still investigating whether the 5 Filipino fishermen also arrested in the Hasa-hasa shoal last Tuesday were involved in the illegal operation. -- Reports from Arlie Cabrestante, ABS-CBN News Palawan; ANC