Cultural Properties Regulation Division
NATIONAL MUSEUM, GOV’T AGENCIES DISCUSS STRICTER REGULATION OF GIANT PEARLS AND CLAMS
The National Museum held a roundtable discussion regarding the conservation, protection and sustainable management of giant pearls and clams of the Philippines on 18 June 2018 at the recently-opened National Museum of Natural History.
In its aim to have stricter regulation of excavation, collection and utilization of these marine resources, the National Museum facilitated the forum with Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC), Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime (OSETC) and National Commission on Cultural Arts (NCCA).
National Museum Assistant Director Angel P. Bautista led the discussion by providing an overview of the nature, physical properties and parts of pearl as well as the rising issues concerning pearls and clams which are considered cultural properties of the country.
“There is actually an ongoing case regarding selling of giant clams with pearls. This is one of the reasons why we hope to strengthen our monitoring of the movement of these aquatic species,” Bautista said.
The National Museum, together with all the concerned government agencies, agreed that a more stringent implementation of the laws, specifically the Republic Act No. 10066 or the “National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009” and the Republic Act No. 9147 or the “Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act”, shall provide an effective regulation of collection, extraction and transport of pearls and clams within the country.
Ms. Ludivina Labe, Aquatic Wildlife Section Chief of BFAR, added that with regards to transport and export of these specimens, all fossils should be regulated solely by NM. When a natural specimen is both fossil and listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), two permits should be issued: one from NM and one from BFAR.
The National Museum is also eager to fortify its information dissemination campaign by providing training and technical assistance to law enforcement agencies in the near future to prevent forgery and illegal movement of natural history specimens.
With the suggestions and inputs of all government agencies involved, the National Museum is set to hold another meeting to further discuss the execution of these recommendations.
Figure 1. National Museum Assistant Director and Chief of Cultural Properties Regulation Division discussed the nature, physical properties and parts of a pearl.
Figure 2. Representatives from different government agencies actively listen as Asst. Dir. Bautista elaborate issues on the excavation, collection and utilization of pearls and clams.
Figure 3. Ms. Labe, representative from BFAR, explains the need for strict implementation of RA 10066 and RA 9147.
Figure 4. One of the three giant clams seized by the NBI and is under the custody of the National Museum was displayed during the meeting.