CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The Protected Areas and Wildlife division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was put on alert after a trade involving selling and buying geckos or “tuko” erupted in the area.
The Department of Health office in Misamis Oriental also expressed concern as speculations circulated that the geckos' gall bladders can cure AIDS.
Health officials dismissed the speculations.
“Sa ngayon, wala akong alam kung ang paghahanap nila [ng tuko] ay para sa gamot sa AIDS, dahil hindi pa natin alam kung totoo iyan,” said Dr. Ignacio Moreno.
“May potensiyal na gamot sa AIDS pero wala pang pruweba,” Moreno added.
The rumor began when a Malaysian reportedly went on the prowl for geckos in Misamis Oriental.
Residents began collecting geckos as reports spread that large geckos sell for P400,000 per kilo.
Authorities said those caught collecting geckos will be apprehended. -- Report from Lorenzo Luzon, ABS-CBN Cagayan de Oro