Mayor orders probe into treasure hunt-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Thursday, February 7, 2013
BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan has ordered the City Engineers’ Office to investigate the treasure hunting activities in Bayan Park-Leonila Hill following complaints from the residents of the area.
Bayan Park-Leonila Hill village chief Zenaida Torres, with several residents and village officials, trooped to City Hall on Tuesday to complain the digging activities, which started October last year and linked to treasure hunting in their area.
Domogan said the villagers are concerned with the possible threats of flooding, as digging activities also affect the easement of a creek near the barangay.
Domogan immediately tasked the City Engineers’ Office to investigate the treasure hunting activities if it has secured permits from authorities and to look into the authenticity of these excavation permits as these should be coordinated with barangay and City Government officials.
Domogan also tasked City Engineer Leo Bernardez to continue monitoring the diggings as well as determine possible damage it may cause to residents in the area while they verify the authenticity of these permits.
Bernardez reported to Domogan that the digging activities are allegedly covered by an excavation permit issued by the National Historical Institute.
In expressing his support, Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president Joel Alangsab said Ordinance 35, which regulates treasure hunting activities in the city, has a very minimal penalty clause as it dates back to the 1970s.
Alangsab said the fine, which was pegged at P200 for violations, should be raised to P5,000 and imprisonment should be meted for violators from six months to one year.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda also said there should be amendments on which law prevails as existing national laws also supersede the existing city ordinance barring the City Government to make any legal action against violators.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) also said it should also be informed of what type of digging will be conducted in an area as these activities may cause damage to properties or endanger lives.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 08, 2013.