Cops seize cargo of algae

A TRUCK carrying seven tons of algae was stopped by the police as it was about to leave Lapu-Lapu City for Bantayan Island last Friday evening. Operatives of the Lapu-Lapu City Police’s Task Force Kalikasan said the truck’s cargo of dried “samu” or sargassum (genus of the brown macroalga) was meant to be exported to China. PO2 Jacklord Pugoy, TF Kalikasan assistant team leader, yesterday said they intercepted a Mitsubishi Fuso (YSM-551) driven by Roger Durimon, a native of Negros Oriental, near Barangay Punta Engaño last Friday night. The police suspect that the samu came from Olango Island. Durimon said that he was only there to pick up the sacks of dried algae, which were delivered from Olango to the Hilton wharf in Punta Engaño. But when asked to present a permit to transport and documents about the origin of his cargo, Durimon could not present any. Durimon told Pugoy that his employer, Alexander Chiong, ordered him to pick up the cargo and deliver it to Bantayan, where it would be exported to China. Pugoy said the dried samu would be used as ingredient for animal feeds. He said dried samu costs about three to P4 per kilo. The truck and its cargo were turned over to City Environment and Natural Resources Office. Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 16, 2011.