Law of the Land. Some readers might
see the debate about ethics irrelevant when archaeology is not philosophy.
But without consulting local archaeologists and other professionals,
visiting archaeologists make observers suspect that their work has
a purpose other than science. Burton's credibility as an archaeologist
was the main reason she was invited to speak at the KAPI conference
in October 2003; she and myself were even invited by Neri to become
members of KAPI, although I'm not an archaeologist. Neri gave Burton
and I membership forms.
But, strangely, Burton was excluded in the Emano-funded
research. The Archaeological Studies Program (ASP) also refused to recognize a midden discovered by Burton
at the Open Site. Neri saw this midden on August 5, 2003 and even took
an animal bone from this site. It is only about 20 meters from the
excavation of the ASP, but the report of the ASP states
that Huluga has no midden.
The ASP also ignored the fossils and artifacts found by
HCA in 2003, including the whale harpoon head, which has a National
Museum accession number. Moreover, the ASP didn't ask permission from the
Open Site landowners. They used Wilson Cabaluna as guide, thereby associating
the ASP with illegal activity since Cabaluna is a treasure hunter. They
miscalculated the response of the media, and were immensely surprised
when asked about the project cost and archaeological code of ethics.
In the end, the ASP made the impression that though it
was prepared to oppose an illegal act in the beginning, it was ready
to look the other way when a huge sum of money was involved. In justifying
the deal with Emano, Paz said on Channel 39 in Cagayan de Oro: “We
cannot do anything anymore with the bridge because it is already finished.” This
explanation is chillingly similar to the rhetoric of Emano and his
supporters in 2003: “Why is the HCA complaining when the bridge
is almost finished?” Roa also said, when HCA asked Emano not
to sell the historical City Hall: “Why are they complaining when
the mayor is only planning?”
In other words, when a crime is being hatched, or
when a crime is in progress, or when a crime has been completed, don’t
call the police.
Such thinking explains why ethics is being ignored.
People who defy the law find it much easier to ignore ethics, because
unlike the law, ethics has no police to enforce it. Ethics requires
nothing but individual will to do good, borne out of good breeding.
It’s not a set of behavior forced by fear of punishment, but
respect for the needs and rights of others. Where people are ethical,
people are usually law-abiding. Where people are confused about
good and evil, there we find crime proliferating. In a country where
law and order continue to decay, it is sad to see a group of highly
educated scientists and teachers failing to demonstrate a clear understanding
of right and wrong.
Cast your vote: Do you want Manila archaeologist to ignore local scholars when doing work in the provinces?