COUNCILOR Elaine Sembrano said treasure hunting requests will be studied thoroughly.
Sembranom, who chairs the committee on environment, said the newly passed environmental code will be used in weighing decisions for the request of Eliseo Cabusao Jr. in granting him exemption from a ban in digging for buried treasure.
Cabusao is seeking the permission of the local council to dig a portion of the Baguio Convention Center to believe to have truckloads of gold bars as part of the fabled Yamashita treasure, left by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Sembrano said the request for exemption from existing laws of the city prohibiting treasure hunting will be discussed en banc and will be guided by the newly passed code.
Cabusao carries a permit from the National Museum to look for treasure signed by director Jeremy Barns, the Treasure Hunting and Disposition of Recovered Treasures Permit.
The permit is seen to clash with existing laws of the city.
The letter was submitted November 29 assuring there will be minimal ground disturbance if extraction is approved and pledges.
“Considering the benefits of a potential success may bring about to direct and indirect beneficiaries on our side, to the national government which gets 50% share, to the city for whatever share it may be due, to the country’s reserves once the BSP appropriates the gold and to the communities which may be impacted 30 percent of our share which we shall allocate for humanitarian and development projects through our Foundation, we thus request exemption,” said Cabusao in his letter.
Cabusao said information of the buried gold was shared by a 90-year-old Baguio born half Japanese man who has been a US resident since the mid 70s who pointed “in the presence of our respective families in his house in the City – the location of the of truckloads of gold bars he and the Japanese soldiers in their teens (he himself was around d the same age) deposited inside a tunnel somewhere in the vicinity of the now Baguio Convention Center.”