Issue of April 7, 2019
     
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MGB reports treasure hunt made BCC ground unstable
by Jessa Mardy P. Samidan

The rehabilitation of the historic Baguio Convention Center might take longer because the diggings left by a treasure hunter have resulted in ground instability. 

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera recommended for the “proponent” to conduct a forensic engineering and structural engineering assessment to define and improve the durability, stability, and seismic resiliency of the structure.” 

Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Director Tiburcio Canlas called the attention of the city government and recommended restoration of the drilled holes. 

He also advised the city government to withdraw the bond posted by treasure hunter Eliseo Cabusao and engage a technical expert to conduct an assessment as recommended by the MGB-CAR. 

In response to the MGB and DPWH observations, the City Engineering Office of Baguio explained that the department cannot restore the drilled holes since it is not their department that issued the excavation permit. 

“Mr. Cabusao has a treasure hunting and disposition of revered treasure permit as he alleged but the same had been issued by the National Museum,” City Engineer Edgar Victorio Olpindo explained. 

Olpindo also said his office is not aware of any bond posted by Cabusao. 

The treasure hunting at the Baguio Convention Center started sometime in 2016 after Director Jeremy Barns of the National Museum signed the permit of Cabusao allowing him to conduct treasure hunting at the vicinities of the Baguio Convention Center and the Ladies Dormitory of the University of the Philippines-Baguio.

City officials raised objection as it is in conflict with the Environment Code that bans such activity in a public land.

Cabusao, a resident of Bakakeng Central, earlier claimed that he learned the presence of truckloads of gold bars deposited in the area from a 90-year old Japanese.


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