Thursday, September 20, 2018

Probe set for convention center gold hunting

THE search for buried treasure at the Baguio Convention Center (BCC) will be probed.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the expedition of treasure hunter Eliseo Cabusao Jr. will be investigated on Monday by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO).

Domogan said although Cabusao has a permit from the National Museum and the go signal from the local council to proceed with his treasure hunt, the safety of the convention center structure will be considered and upheld.

The mayor added the treasure hunter began his exploration at the site but was halted by CBAO.

As the rehabilitation of the BCC is taking place, Cabusao’s hunt has to be scrutinized if it will affect the structural integrity of the center which is undergoing rehabilitation.

Retrofitting and renovation plan for the convention center include retaining the historical and architectural significance and footprint of the site and structure, maximizing the use of renewable energies, natural lighting, and ventilation in the building and site design; accounting for ecologically feasible and resilient building and site development; integrating pedestrianized areas; increasing parking areas through basement parking; and expanding the seating capacity for over 2000.

Domogan said if indeed it will affect the convention center, Cabusao has to state how he will deal with the problem.

“What will Cabusao do to return the stability?” asked Domogan.

Domogan said a meeting with Cabusao initially revealed he would stop the expedition if found it will affect the structure of the convention center.

Ongoing for a period of one year is the long overdue renovation and retrofitting for the convention center while Cabusao believes the fabled Yamashita treasure is underneath.

The treasure hunter is set to dole out 35 percent to the city, 30 percent to the National Government if treasure will be found.

Cabusao is the lone treasure hunter who has acquired a permit from the National Museum carrying with him a Treasure Hunting and Disposition of Recovered Treasures Permit which supersedes local laws.

He plans to dig a portion of the convention center to amass truckloads of gold bars believed to be part of loot left by Japanese soldiers during World War II, a tale relayed to him by a Japanese soldier.

The treasure hunter said extraction is not going to be invasive to the environment as they will only drill a 10-centimeter hole over the detected spot or spots then progressing to 30 centimeters up to 80 centimeters.