A HOPEFUL Eliseo Cabusao Jr. will appear before the local council in a bid get an exemption from a ban to look for buried treasure.

Cabusao is seeking the permission of the local council to dig a portion of the Baguio Convention Center which is believed to hide truckloads of gold bars assumed to be part of the fabled Yamashita treasure, left by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

“I believe in the dictum that politics as the art of governing is also the art of compromise. I equate here the art of governance with responsible exercise of governmental authority. Our group has a high regard for our leaders in the city and my own experience over the past three weeks speaking briefly with some of the councilors bears this out. Yet I would not pre-empt them in their final decision but I could foresee some kind of a prudential compromise,” Cabusao said.

A permit from the National Museum to look for treasure has been granted the proponent with the Treasure Hunting and Disposition of Recovered Treasures Permit clashing with existing laws of the city.

The request has been forwarded to committee chair on environment headed by councilor Elaine Sembrano.

“Our form of extraction is methodical and is not at all invasive on the environment as we simply drill first a 10-centimeter hole over the detected spot or spots, progressing to 30 centimeters up to 80 centimeters if at each stage we find direct evidence of the presence of gold. If none, then we quickly cover the hole or holes with the same soil our drilling would have taken out. This kind of drilling is happening hundreds of times for soil exploration and water testing all over the country, daily, and hence, our drilling method would not be incompatible with the code’s objective. And given the potential of the project to yield substantial amount of treasure, or even any amount of treasure, such a compromise on the part of the Council could lead obviously to a satisfactory, morally and politically unproblematic outcome, not the obverse,” Cabusao added.

Cabusao explained “We continue to hope that the Council would grant us the exemption. Treasure hunting is neither our profession nor vocation. It started as a hobby and still largely is, but as time goes on and with an increasing knowledge about the subject historically and with some empirical evidence of buried treasures actually retrieved elsewhere, our group gradually is becoming serious about the enterprise. We count around twenty of us contributing in bankrolling our activities. We don’t have a formal hierarchy and I just coordinate our unstructured work. Then this changed when we were able to secure a permit from the National Museum and wrote a letter-request to the Council.”

The treasure hunter represents a group of friends who have endeavored to look for the convention center buried treasure and since the story has gone public, inquires have flooded their group.

“We received a few calls inquiring about getting permit from the National Museum for suspected treasure sites within their respective private property, all three of them also asking whether we can help them up to extraction and monetization. This is a positive development as people would go legal instead of doing it surreptitiously in a kind of hit and run – illegally – where all precautionary measures to ensure safety, including proper care of the environment and the necessary supervision and monitoring by the National Museum and by the local authorities as well, are precluded,” Cabusao added.

In the meantime, Cabusao said “We are now envisioning to organize ourselves into a potent group and professionalize the venture, say into a corporate endeavour based on the law, Republic Act 10066. This is a positive development as people would go legal instead of doing it surreptitiously in a kind of hit and run – illegally – where all precautionary measures to ensure safety, including proper care of the environment and the necessary supervision and monitoring by the National Museum and by the local authorities as well, are precluded.”