Seaman digs for treasure, but his neighbors worry

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Saturday, May 7, 2011


THE search for treasure has attracted the fancy of the many. This time, that of a retired seaman in Barangay Inayawan, Cebu City.

Henry Lucenara, 60, has dug a one-meter wide, 50-foot deep hole inside his compound located beside CBD College. This, after a woman appeared in his dream telling him there are gold and other treasures in his property.

“Naa’y babaye galakaw-lakaw dira sa akong gikalutan unya nagpakita sa akong damgo nagpahibaw nga daghang bulawan diri,” he said.

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Lucenara showed Sun.Star Cebu yesterday the site where he carries out his activity. He, however, did not allow the news team to see the hole for fear that he will no longer find his treasures.

“Ayaw lang ug tan-awa kay ma-sumpa unya (Don’t look at it because that might jinx it),” he warned.

However, Lucenara’s treasure hunting inside his property is deemed illegal, since he has not secured a digging permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7.

The DENR issues permits for treasure hunting activities both in government and private land as well as in shipwrecks.

Lucenara, in an interview, said he has not secured a digging permit from DENR because it is no longer necessary.

Lucenara showed a copy of Article 437 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which says: “The owner of a parcel of land is the owner of its surface and everything under it, and he can construct thereon any works or make any plantations and excavations which he may deem proper, without detriment to servitudes and subject to special laws and ordinances.”

Lucenara also cited Article 438: “Hidden treasures belong to the owner of the land, building or other property on which it is found.”

“So aha may naka-illegal ani akong gibuhat? Okay ra magkawut as long as di ma-
apektahan ang environment (So, why would they consider this illegal? It’s okay to dig, as long as the environment isn’t affected),” he said.

Officials of Barangay Inayawan, though, have been receiving complaints from nearby residents regarding Lucenara’s hunting activities.

Sulpicio Pantilgan, a barangay tanod, said the residents have expressed fear that the digging might weaken their houses’ foundation and cause it to collapse.

Pantilgan said they have already inspected the area but cannot determine how big Lucenara’s digging has grown. He said it took a report for the barangay to find out about the activity, which is situated in a corner of the property.

Pantilgan said their village chief Rustico Ignacio has already issued an order to stop the digging.

Lucenara refused to heed Ignacio’s order, standing firm on his claims that his treasure hunting is illegal.

Lucenara has been trying to unearth treasures for almost a month already but has found none, so far.

City Hall’s Office of the Building Official (OBO) has already received the report on Lucenara’s diggings and inspected the site on Thursday.

In a separate interview, building official Engr. Josefa Ylanan said they only told Lucenara to put a cover on the hole he has created to avoid accidents, as well as secure a digging permit from DENR.

“Wa man gud sila’y gi-construct so wa tay jurisdiction ana (He didn’t construct anything, so we have no jurisdiction over it). It will be up to DENR whether or not to issue a digging permit to Lucenara,” she said.

On Monday, OBO will again inspect the site to determine if Lucenara has secured a digging permit.

“Kung wa, ang definite action ana si patabunan ug balik (if he hasn’t, we will ask him to fill the hole up),” she said.

Lucenara insisted he will only stop his digging activity if he finds what he has been looking for: the treasures he dreamed of.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 07, 2011.

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