Archeologist inspects Perrelos excavation

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Saturday, September 24, 2011


SOME diggings were discovered in another barangay in Carcar City yesterday as an archaeologist deputized by the National Museum inspected an excavation in Barangay Perrelos.

Jojo Bersales, also a professor at the University of San Carlos, said the National Museum cannot stop people from digging for treasures but these activities should be covered by permits.

Bersales, also Capitol consultant on museum and heritage, inspected an excavation in Sitio San Isidro, Barangay Perrelos, following reports that there are men digging for treasure in the area.

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But Antonio Ortales, caretaker of the excavation site, said the owner of the property is making a fish pond.

To verify this, Bersales visited the Carcar Prawn Farm in nearby Barangay Tuyom.

Deep

Pedro Villamor, farm manager, told Bersales that their three-hectare (30,000 square meters) freshwater tilapia pond is only one meter deep.

Ortales said the excavation in Perrelos is eight to 10 meters deep on a 3,500-square-meter property.

He said the owner of the land, the Lauron family, obtained a barangay permit for a freshwater tilapia pond project.

Perrelos Barangay Captain Jorge Nisnisan told Sun.Star Cebu that if the local government finds that project of the Lauron family is not really for a fishpond, the barangay will revoke the permit.

“If it is found that the (excavation) activities pose a danger to the community, the barangay clearance issued to them would be revoked,” he said.

In Barangay Dunggu-an, Bersales and some barangay officials found several diggings near a railroad track, which has been declared as a heritage structure.

Even if the diggings were shallow and have been abandoned, Nisnisan said more barangay tanods will be deployed in the area.

Bersales said the diggings do not endanger the old rail track because this has a sturdy foundation.

“Some treasure hunters are stupidly targeting heritage structures, thinking that the Japanese are as idiotic as they are to hide treasures in obvious places,” he said.

He warned treasure hunters against violating the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, which includes penal provisions.

The law aims to protect, preserve, conserve and promote the country’s cultural heritage.

He also urged local government units to be vigilant.

Applications for treasure hunting permits are processed by the National Museum in Manila. Permit applicants are required to pay P5,000 and post a P250,000 surety insurance that would be used if accidents occur at the excavation site.

Bersales said he will submit a report on the diggings to the National Museum.

Some residents in Perrelos said they saw foreigners carrying gadgets and hauling rocks at night at the excavation site on the Lauron property.

Ortales denied this, saying that the foreigners may be involved in exploration projects in Carcar.

Engr. Eduardo Amante, Department of Energy energy resource development and utilization division chief, told Sun.Star Cebu that there are seismic survey activities for possible natural gas or oil sources in Carcar City but these were conducted only in Barangays Guadalupe, Valencia, Buenavista and Calidngan.

The projects involve foreigners but none of them had activities in Perrelos, said Amante.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 24, 2011.

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