In Filipino culture, we often bring ‘pasalubong’ to family and friends every time we go on a trip. The ‘pasalubong’ could be anything – from food to t-shirts to trinkets to exotic items you find at the place you visited.
But the next time you go on a trip, be mindful of what you are actually buying from the locals as this innocent ‘pasalubong’ could get you in trouble with the law!
Former Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay Mayor Maria Esperanza Corazon “Mec” Rillera has drawn flak online after posting photos of the turtle eggs her husband got her as pasalubong on his trip to the Turtle Islands in Tawi Tawi.
In a post where she bragged about ‘feeling loved’ that her husband had brought her the turtle eggs as ‘pasalubong’, the former mayor who is actually an incumbent provincial Board Member shared pictures of the eggs being cooked!
After cooking the eggs, the former mayor shared that the eggs were ‘so yummy’.
While the post was liked by some of her friends, this had drawn flak online especially because collection or possession of sea turtles and their eggs is actually against the law!
With turtle population on a steady decline, conservation efforts are being done to stop turtles from going extinct. Sadly, poachers know exactly where to find the turtles and their eggs – and a lot of tourists are willing to pay big money for these exotic ‘delicacies’.
A lot of people pointed out that as a public servant and someone who had studied law, Rillera should have known better than to be happy with her husband’s turtle eggs ‘pasalubong’. Others said that though she is not at fault because she did not buy the eggs, she still had liability here as she cooked and ate the eggs!
But perhaps she didn’t know that cooking and eating turtle eggs are prohibited? Well, while that is true, she should also know that ignorance of the law excuses no one – and she now has to face the consequences of her actions!