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Huluga and the President of Spain
By Elson T. Elizaga

The Huluga archaeological site in Cagayan de Oro can be used as a reference for business and diplomacy. Material remains from China, India, Thailand, and Spain were found here. If a Cagayan de Oro official would go to Beijing on a trade mission, he could tell his host, "Do you know that our relationship is 2,000 years old?"

The city of Sevilla, Spain "is the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of  Andalusia and of the province of Seville." -- Wikipedia, accessed Dec. 5, 2010.

That kind of statement would certainly attract interest, fascination and goodwill. But because the mayor has destroyed a huge portion of Huluga––with the support of president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo––this heritage site has become a black eye to our leaders. City Hall takes great effort to avoid the subject in its cultural and investment programs.

Recently, for instance, Agnes Paulita Roa [aka Nanette Roa] of the Historical and Cultural Commission of City Hall wrote an article about the history of Cagayan de Oro for a book publication, but the article doesn’t mention Huluga.

As early as October 2003, vice mayor Michelle Tagarda Spiers declared that the Huluga issue was dead. But she was mistaken because when mayor Vicente Yap Emano went to Seoul, he was asked to explain about my letter on the "Cultural Terrorist in Korea."

Emano was also asked about the subject in China when he went there as head of a trade mission. Groups in India and Germany this year have also become aware of how the City Hall has treated our heritage site.

And recently, I sent a digitally-signed PDF communication to a Spanish minister, this time referring to the head of our country:

"Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is in Madrid for an audience with King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez Zapatero. She will also invite Spanish businessmen to invest in the Philippines.

"Allow me to tell you that Arroyo’s management style has ruined a heritage site for the sake of ‘development’. We are concerned that Spanish economic assistance will contribute to further destruction of our heritage.

"Arroyo supported the construction of a P600-million bridge in Huluga, a Philippine archaeological site guaranteed protection by law. The bridge has no Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) and Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA). It has destroyed the venue of a prehistoric settlement which was visited by Spanish priests in 1622, leading to the conversion of our ancestors. I found a Spanish coin minted between 1788 and 1808 in this place, among other artifacts. The coin bears the image of King Carlos IV.

"Huluga is a symbol of Spanish and Philippine relations in my city, and yet Arroyo has chosen to have this site desecrated. Furthermore, Arroyo also misled the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco): On September 29, 2003, Arroyo delivered a speech that profusely thanked Unesco for its efforts in preserving Philippine heritage, but the next day, Arroyo allowed the inauguration of the destructive, illegal bridge in Huluga.

"This issue and related others are described in http://heritage.elizaga.net.

"We understand that the people and government of Spain are concerned about cultural conservation. The HCA is pro-development and welcomes foreign investment. If Your Excellency is invited to a meeting with Arroyo, we suggest that Arroyo be asked how she can ensure that Spanish economic assistance will help preserve, protect and promote Spanish and Philippine heritage."

Copper 8 Maravedis

My email included a photo of the Copper 8 Maravedis coin. The artifact is worth only about P200. Found among earthenware sherds and obsidian flakes, it is of little value compared to the magnificent, priceless paintings of the great Juan Luna which hang in the Senate of Madrid. But she could have shown this item to King Carlos to illustrate her respect for Spanish heritage no matter how seemingly small. It would also suggest that the millions of Spanish money she was asking would be taken good care of. Instead, to impress her host, she used words that indicate how violence, war, and terror have become essential in international relations. She described Spain as the Philippines’ "partner in the fight against terrorism." 

I guess that means terrorism maintenance will keep the partnership going. With political assassination already a major industry in the Philippines, we have clearly demonstrated that we can achieve excellence in this endeavor. End

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