Wednesday, November 17, 2004, Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro
Emano denies paying P400T
By Lizanilla J. Amarga
THE Huluga open site may not be Cagayan de Oro City's first settlement site, the team of archeologists from the University of the Philippines (UP) announced.
Mayor Vicente Emano, who hired the team, denied reports received by the local Heritage Conservation Advocates (HCA) that he has paid the team P400,000 for the the Huluga excavation project.
The City Government quoted Dr. Victor J. Paz, director of the UP Archaeological Studies Program, as disclosing that as of the present level of study that they have conducted in the Huluga complex, they have not yet discovered a single piece of evidence that would prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Huluga open site is indeed a settlement site.
"Vital to the conclusion that the area is once a settlement site, such evidence, Dr. Paz explained, may include post holes, ashes of related artifacts that may prove that big structures have once been erected in the area," their statement reads.
And during his Saturday "Mayor's Move" radio program at Angel Radyo dxCL, the mayor also defended the delivery of archeological artifacts in Manila and Butuan City saying these "objects belong not only to Cagayan de Oro but also to the whole country."
Emano also assured that they will bring these artifacts back to the city once they build a museum big enough to house all of these items.
Nevertheless, City Hall said the team of archaeologists is one in concluding that the Huluga open site is definitely a habitational site where early Cagayanons used to converge.
"This was based on the artifacts salvaged from the area which included obsidian flakes, trade ware ceramics and earthenware shreds," their statement reads.
City Hall also quoted Professor Lee Anthony M. Neri, university research associate and senior lecturer at the UP Archaeological Studies Program as saying that obsidian flakes, a natural glass, were once used for trading when money was not yet invented.
Meanwhile, Emano over dxCL Angel Radyo last Saturday debunked reports gathered by HCA that he paid the archeological team P400,000.
He said the P400,000 is the amount allocated by his administration for the City Historical Commission for this year.
"Kadako ba anang P400,000 maypa ako nalang magkuha ug mga tao ug magkalotkalot didto (That P400,000 is too huge an amount, if there was such an amount I would have just taken it and hire some people to do the diggings at the Huluga Open Site)," he said.
Earlier, HCA member Elson Elizaga disclosed that they have received reports that Emano and these team of archeologists have signed a contract that the City Government would pay the latter P400,000 for the excavation and study of the Huluga archeological complex.
Emano said the Huluga controversy has been mixed up with local politics and that the latest report that he paid almost half a million to these archeologists is another attempt to put him in bad light.
"But I would just like to explain that this is not true particularly as this concerns the money of the people," he said last Saturday in vernacular. (With a report from SC)