Council committee wants exploration of precious metal in the city approved

Mar 4, 2017

The Committee on Health and Sanitation, Ecology and Environmental Protection of the City Council, after holding a committee level public hearing, is recommending for the approval of a request for the conduct of an exploratory boring of a hole to determine the existence of precious metals at a portion of the grounds at the Baguio Convention Center, here in the City of Baguio.

In its recommendation for approval of the said request the committee, chaired by City Councilor Elaine Sembrano, gave weight to the views and opinions supplied by the personalities who attended the committee level hearing which included Mr. Eliseo Cabusao, the proponent/applicant who made the request, Mr. Alfredo Genetiano of the DENR-CAR, Atty. Melchor Rabanes of the City Legal Office and CEPMO head Ms. Cordelia Lacsamana.

The committee took note that the proponent has previously obtained a permit from the National Museum to look for treasure within the vicinity of the Baguio Convention Center, and that as observed also by the City Legal Officer Atty. Rabanes, there is a presidential decree that provides that if the supposed treasure is part of the fabled Yamashita Treasure then the sharing for whatever is recovered should be 75% to the government and 25% to the finder. It was further noted and as pointed out by Atty. Rabanes the potential site is located is owned by the city government of Baguio and that the present Environment Code is silent or vague in cases where an applicant for treasure hunting has previously obtained and has been issued a permit by the National government.

The said committee further took notice of the additional observation of Atty. Rabanes that there is already a precedent or a previous instance where the National Museum has granted a permit for such an activity and no local consent was obtained or given. Meanwhile, the DENR representative also clarified that it was their agency that used to govern activities on treasure hunting but that the same has already been transferred to the National Museum.

With the above, the Committee came up with its recommendation for the approval of the request adding the further explanation that based on data and documents available, the revelations made during the said public hearing and the absence of an implementing rules and regulations relative to the implementation of the Environment Code of the city they arrived with view that as “between the permit given by the National Museum and the permit sought to be obtained from the City Council, the former prevails as the same obtained primary jurisdiction over the application and its grant thereof.

Finally, the approval is further subject to other conditions such as the submission of a report to the committee on the result of the sub-soil exploration, that if it is positive the excavation project will commence and terminate within thirty days from the approval of the report by the committee, that the sharing formula for whatever is retrieve from the ground will be 30% to the National Government, 35% to the City Government of Baguio and 35% to the finder or proponent and that the proponent shall obtain all necessary permits as well as restore the grounds immediately to its original condition upon completion of the project.
The committee also attached to its recommendation a proposed resolution on the matter and which will be subjected to the decision of the city council in its next regular session.

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