Ocular inspection of treasure hunting site slated

BAGUIO CITY May 15 – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan authorized representatives from concerned government agencies, the local government and the permitted treasure hunter to conduct an ocular inspection of the proposed treasure-hunting site within the Baguio Convention Center to effectively and efficiently address key issues that have cropped up during the implementation of the multi-million rehabilitation of the city's premier convention facility.

He claimed that the decision to conduct an ocular inspection in the project and treasure hunting sites was reached during a recent meeting among representatives of the Cordillera office of the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH-CAR), City Buildings and Architecture office (CBAO) and the treasure under, Elesio Cabusao, who secured a treasure hunting permit from the National Museum.

Based on the agreement during the meeting, the multi-stakeholder inspection is geared towards answering the issue on whether or not the proposed treasure hunting activity in the area will affect the foundation of the convention facility, if the activity will affect the stability of the facility, what will the permittee do to implement whatever mitigating measures that will address the problem and for the permittee to voluntarily move out once it will be discovered that the treasure hunting activity will compromise the overall stability of the convention center.

Domogan commended the treasure hunter for committing that if it will be discovered during the ocular inspection that his treasure hunting activity will compromise the stability of the convention center, then he will voluntarily move out so as not to unduly interrupt the programmed rehabilitation works.

Under the proposal of Cabusao once there will be treasure that will be unearthed from the area, 35 percent will be the share of the treasure hunter, 35 percent will accrue to the local government while 30 percent will be given to the national government.

According to him, the treasure hunting activities in the area stopped when the matter was brought to the attention of the concerned government agencies and the local government that prompted the conduct of the multi-stakeholder meeting among the involved parties to thresh out the issues that cropped up when the treasure hunting was simultaneously done with the on-going rehabilitation project.

Earlier, the DPWH central office provided some P180 million from this year's annual budget for the rehabilitation of the city-owned Baguio Convention Center (BCC) for it to become the city's premier convention facility and that the project will be implemented for a one-year period.

The rehabilitation project started early February this year and is programmed to be completed early next year so that the local government can host the conduct of much bigger local, regional, national and international gatherings.

The Baguio Convention Center was constructed through the initiative of former Minister of Human Settlements and First Lady and now Ilocos Norte 2nd district Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos for the country's hosting of the world chess championship match between erstwhile champion Anatoly Karpov and Victor Korchnoi.

By Dexter A. See

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