Tuko in Bukidnon as big as crocodiles?

BY ROGER M. BALANZA

Kitaotao, BUKIDNON – Mayor Rodito Rafisura has laughed off reports that Kitaotao has become a trading center for tuko (Philippine gecko) by syndicates.
He took a stab at rumors going the round that the syndicates pay up to P6 million for a tuko that is 29 to 30 inches long and weighing 800 grams.
He said those bitten by the “tuko craze” and looking for a lizard of that size could find them in a crocodile farm.
Where can you see a gecko which is 29 to 30 inches long? What is that, a small crocodile? They should go to a crocodile farm if they want to become rich, Rafisura said in jest. He said geckos in Bukidnon is a rarity. Bukidnon is not a place for geckoes, he said.
Earlier, reports said that some tuko buyers in Kitaotao complained before the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Davao City that a gang of swindlers took off with their geckos without paying for them.
Rafisura said he heard reports of tuko trading in Barangay Sinuda of Kitaotao, but dismissed as exaggerated other reports saying the deals involved millions of pesos.
The tuko stories have invaded the halls of the Senate, with Mindanao Senator Koko Pimentel calling for an investigation into trading of geckos, an illegal activity.
Republic Act 9147, otherwise known as Philippine Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, provides that collection, trade, or transport of geckos without appropriate permits from the Protected Areas and Wild Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is prohibited. The crime carries the penalty of up to four years imprisonment.

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