LAOAG CITY - A fisherman who was selling sea turtle or "pawikan" eggs at the Laoag City commercial complex was arrested by police on Wednesday afternoon.
Jessie Pascual, 50, a resident of Barangay 33-B Lapaz in Laoag City, was reported to authorities by a concerned citizen.
Confiscated from Pascual were 20 sea turtle eggs, which he had priced at P10 each.
The fisherman claimed that he was unaware that it was against the law to sell pawikan eggs, which he had gotten from the seashore in Barangay Lapaz.
"Hindi ko alam. Gusto ko lang sana magkapera dahil sa hirap ng buhay," he said.
Pascual, who claimed that it was his first time to sell sea turtle eggs, will be charged for violation of Republic Act 9147, the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
According to Provincial Regulatory Officer Arthur Valente, since sea turtles are considered endangered species, violators of this law can be penalized with two to four years of imprisonment, and a fine of P30,000 to P200,000.
The pawikan eggs were returned to the their nest in Barangay Lapaz by members of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office.
Pawikan are among the most endangered turtles in the world.
There are five species that can be found in the Philippines. One, the hawksbill, is listed as "critically endangered" on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.