MGB 7 halts digging, warns of landslide

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014


THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 yesterday stopped a suspected treasure hunt in Sitio Rotunda, located at the boundary of Barangays Banilad and Apas in Cebu City.

MGB 7 Director Loreto Alburo issued last Aug. 5 a cease-and-desist order against couple Matias and Consuelo Densing, who dug a tunnel at the back of their house.

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Two MGB 7 personnel, geodetic engineer Genaro Sarpamones Jr. and senior environmental management specialist Ramcie Brillante, inspected the tunnel that the Densings dug.

They said the tunnel, whose diameter is more than half a meter, poses the risk of landslide, and endangers the lives of diggers and nearby residents.

Cave in

The MGB 7 officials said the tunnel does not have timber support and could cave in. The excavated loose rocks and sediments could cause a landslide during heavy rain.

The MGB 7 pointed out that the digging was not covered by a permit from City Hall.

Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman said the digging also did not have a permit from the barangay.

The Densings denied they are digging for treasure. Kim Densing, daughter of Matias and Consuelo, told MGB 7 officials that her family was digging an underground grotto to appease their ancestors’ spirits.

The Densings reportedly started digging the tunnel last March yet. When their neighbors started to complain, the family told them that they were constructing a grotto in honor of the Blessed
Virgin Mary.

Ayuman told Sun.Star Cebu that the tunnel is 30 feet deep.

Depth

“Naa ba gud diay grotto na 30 feet ang kalawmon unya naa pa gyud hagdan-hagdan? Naa’y duha pa ka existing na mga bangag sa ubos unya gasige og kawt aron ma-connect ning tulo. Sa among tanaw, treasure hunting gyud (Is it normal to build a grotto 30 feet under? Two other holes are being dug to connect these to the other tunnel. We think it’s a treasure hunt),” he said.

Alburo said that they were not able to measure the depth of the tunnel due to safety reasons.

He urged officials in the two barangays to monitor the digging and stop any effort to resume it
without a permit from City Hall. He also said that if the digging turns out to be a treasure hunt, the Densings would have to secure a permit from the National Museum.

Ayuman accompanied the MGB 7 officials who served the cease-and-desist order yesterday noon.

But Ayuman said he received a report yesterday afternoon that the Densings resumed digging inside the tunnel.

Ayuman warned the Densings that if they refuse to heed the order, the barangay would cut off the electricity connection inside the tunnel and confiscate the wires.

He said he will also file a complaint against the Densings before the City Mining Regulatory Board, which will support any legal action the City might take against the family.

The MGB 7 learned about the digging from neighbors who worried about the effect of the digging on their safety.

In a Balitang Bisdak interview yesterday, Consuelo said they started digging the tunnel to release the spirit of their departed loved ones.

“Ang mga kalag nagpadamgo sa akong bana na motabang sa pagluwas nila, paghatag og kahayag ug suga na walay pagkapalong (The spirits of our ancestors came to my husband in a dream and told him to give them eternal light),” she said in the Balitang Bisdak report.

In the same TV interview, Nonoy Loranas said they complained about the digging because they fear that the ground would collapse, damage their houses or, worse, bury them.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 27, 2014.

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