DENR hunts down plunderers who "raped" coral reefs

( Environment Secretary Ramon Paje wants the people responsible for the recent destruction of 35-million-peso coral reefs punished, reports ABS-CBN News.

"We shall certainly act with dispatch to make sure that the suspects face the punishment to the fullest extent," said Paje in the article. He also added that these criminals "have practically robbed the present and future generations of Filipinos."According to, the crime that destroyed coral reefs twice the size of Manila has been described as "the rape of the ocean."

Paje set his department to work, ordering lawyers to start summary proceedings and wildlife experts to investigate and further determine who else might be involved besides Exequiel Navarro who had been reported earlier as consignee of the contraband.

Navarro himself is facing charges for violating the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998-which can sentence him to six months to two years in prison plus a fine of up to P500,000; and for violating the country's Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, which can earn him an additional sentence of 12 years and a fine of up to P1 million.


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