Philippines to Question Priest in Ivory Trade

CBS News
September 26, 2012

A staffer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (DENR-PAWB) displays elephant tusks which were seized by Philippine customs authorities over a two-year period following failed smuggling attempts in the country, Wednesday Sept. 26, 2012, in Quezon city northeast of Manila. The tusks are to be shipped back to their port of origin, mostly from Tanzania, for destruction

MANILA, Philippines Philippine authorities say they will question a Roman Catholic priest about ivory smuggling after his collection of ivory religious icons was featured in National Geographic magazine.

Monsignor Cristobal Garcia is quoted in the October issue of the magazine as describing how to bring ivory figurines into the United States.

National Bureau of Investigation official Sixto Comia said Wednesday that authorities are investigating the origin of ivory icons widely used in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. He said Garcia will be questioned but declined to give further details.

An international ban on trade in ivory and elephant tusks has been in effect since 1990.

The head of the Philippine bishops' organization, Archbishop Jose Palma, said Garcia should be allowed to explain. He said the church supports the ivory ban.


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