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The Archaeological Studies Program: Violating Archaeological Ethics
 
By Elson T. Elizaga
 
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Negotiations. But in November and December 2003, no such case was filed, although Angeles kept assuring HCA vice-president Antonio J. Montalvan II that a case was underway. In late December 2003 or early January 2004, Neri told me that the case would mention my father John L. Elizaga because he was the vice-mayor. I told Neri it was okay to include him.

Apparently, Emano was negotiating with the National Museum and the Archaeological Studies Program (ASP) during this period. Because on January 19, 2004, the City Council -- monopolized by members of the mayor’s political party2 -- enacted an ordinance authorizing the mayor to hire the ASP for the research and excavation of Cagayan de Oro, specifically in Huluga, Macasandig, and Indahag. This development was concealed from the HCA. Burton learned about it only on the 21st, when she received a tip from a friend in the City Hall. Surprised, Burton spoke to Neri using a cell phone. Neri confirmed the news.

Burton was aghast that the ASP had made the deal with Emano without informing the HCA or other concerned groups in Cagayan de Oro. “What about [the archaeological code of] ethics?” Burton asked Neri repeatedly but Neri3 told Burton that the ASP had already submitted a proposed budget to the mayor.

Burton also told Neri that the ASP should not touch Huluga because the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Cagayan de Oro had issued an order4 to Emano on August 18, 2003. This order was in response to the administrative case filed a month earlier by the HCA against Emano and UKC Builders, Inc. It states, partly, that the respondent must pay P50, 000 “as fine for violating ECC conditions No. 3” and that the respondent must “immediately organize a team” to preserve Huluga in coordination with the National Museum, the Research Institute for Mindanao Culture (RIMCU) and the Department of Tourism.

Burton was the director of RIMCU when she spoke to Neri. The EMB order does not mention the ASP.

Red ribbon on Ramon Magsaysay monument

RED FOR BLOOD

On September 30, 2003, the Heritage Conservation Advocates, the Kristohanong Katilingban sa Pagpakabana (KKP), and other groups held a rally to protest the damage of the Huluga archaeological site.

A lone mountain climber tied a red ribbon -- symbol of ancestral blood -- on the peak of the Ramon Magsaysay monument.

In the background stood and still stand the coronavirus-shaped lamps, a project of mayor Vicente Yap Emano.

Free Vote Caster from Bravenet.com Cast your vote: Do you want Manila archaeologists to ignore local scholars when doing work in the provinces?
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2 All 12 councilors, the vice-mayor, and the mayor were members of the same political party.

3 Neri’s mother was an employee at the City Planning Office when Burton and Neri had a discussion.

4 The document is DENR-EMB Case No. 03-0074: “In the matter of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System Violation Case versus City of Cagayan de Oro, Represented by City Mayor Vicente Yap Emano, and UKC Builders, Inc.”. It is signed by Sabdullah C. Abubacar, DM, OIC, Regional Director of the EMB. It states, partly, that the respondent must “immediately organize a team specifically required under ECC condition No. 3 to preserve and conserve the resources of Huluga caves and vicinity and shall implement a control management system to regulate entry, exploration and/or use of the cave [sic] in coordination with the National Museum, Research Institution [sic] for Mindanao Culture (RIMCU) and the Department of Tourism …”.

© Elson T. Elizaga.