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Constantino Jaraula and the Huluga archaeological site
By Elson T. Elizaga

For 10 years, we have been observing local government response to heritage concerns, and have found out a simple pattern: positive words, negative action.

Constantino Jaraula, a lawyer, was mayor of Cagayan de Oro from July 2007 to June 2010. Many observers believed the de facto mayor then was Vicente Yap Emano, because Emano is the autocratic head of PaDayon Pilipino, where Jaraula is just a member. Emano was also mayor for nine years prior to 2007. In 2010, Emano ran for mayor again and won a dubious victory against Rolando Uy. Sacks of election paraphernalias were found in the city dump and a junk shop.

On September 28, 1999, the City Council issued a resolution for the protection of Huluga, but did not come up with an ordinance. In 2001, mayor Vicente Yap Emano said he would protect Huluga but rammed the site with bulldozers. In 2003, The Archaeological Studies Program of UP-Diliman issued a statement declaring support for the Heritage Conservation Advocates (HCA) and the people of Cagayan de Oro but cooperated with the cultural terrorist instead. In 2007, mayor Constantino Jaraula promised to stop the quarrying in Huluga but did not.

Recently, Jaraula said he was “very happy” to learn about the discovery of a prehistoric grave in Huluga. He said he was planning to nullify the private land titles but warned that the process could take “five to 10 years”. I’m afraid what he really means is after 10 years we might even lose the case because City Hall, you know, is just pretending to be interested. City Hall has always been looking for difficult or impossible or ridiculous solutions to heritage problems. Meanwhile, quarrying and looting of graves continues in Huluga. It is nullifying the archaeological Obsidian Hill.

Agnes Paulita Roa of the Heritage Council once said that the government cannot do anything about Huluga because the lots are private. This is weird. I don’t understand why the government found it easy to damage Huluga when the area was private, and then claims difficulty in protecting it now because it is still private. Even it's made public, it can be destroyed further as well, if the mayor so wishes in pursuit of development and other noble causes, such as world peace and inter-galactic harmony.

Dr. Antonio J. Montalvan II and Dr. Erlinda M. Burton meet mayor Constantino Jaraula. On the table is an M49A2 grenade surrounded by a rosary of M14 bullets. M49A2 grenade
The Heritage Conservation Advocates and journalists met mayor Constantino Jaraula in August 2007 after reports of quarrying in the Huluga archaeological site.

In 2007, Jaraula said he was for Huluga conservation, after reading about quarrying in Huluga in the national papers. But he has not done anything to prove his claim. He has no information drive about Huluga. The subject is absent in tourism pamphlets and website about Cagayan de Oro. He has no instruction for the police to protect the area. There is no report of him having met with the barangay chairman of Taguanao to discuss the preservation of the site. In 2007, he decorated his table with an M49A2 grenade surrounded by a rosary of bullets, but didn’t ask a copy of photos of Huluga artifacts and fossils we presented. [See related article.] His Heritage Council has no anthropologist or historian or curator, but includes an Emano propagandist who has never lifted a finger to stop the damage.

Jaraula also asked the HCA to conduct ownership of the lands in barangay Indahag, where Huluga is located. I finished the research in about six months, and requested a lawyer to present to him the findings. The lawyer wrote him a letter; he didn’t reply. And though he described Dr. Erlinda M. Burton and Dr. Antonio J. Montalván II as authorities on heritage matters in 2007, it is only in October 2009 that he talked to Montalván, in response to the discovery. We gave him Burton’s cell number in 2007, but he kept his number secret, so we couldn’t even get a “hu u?” or a “hus dis?”

There is a huge opportunity for Jaraula to make a difference. Mayors come and go building roads and markets and hospitals and schools and telephone lines and monuments. These are necessary projects. But, unlike Barack Obama, no politician in Cagayan de Oro has done anything significant to bridge the past with the present. No one has defined our identity. No leader has inspired us to live well, proud of the courage, the intelligence, and the strength of those who came  before us. End

  • The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) names Jaraula as one of the beneficiaries of the pork barrel scam (NBI Official Gazette, Sept. 16, 2013)
  • Speaking on DxCC in 2010, Atty. Mar Carrasco said Constantino Jaraula has acquired 100 hectares in barangay Indahag. He added that the area has a swim pool.
  • "CITY hall would launch a campaign to have the Huluga complex declared as a national treasure, a move that could mean the nullification of some land titles in Indahag, Mayor Constantino Jaraula said yesterday ... Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of the city’s 2nd District said he would file a bill to oblige the national government to set aside funds for the development of Huluga by the Department of Tourism, Philippine Tourism Authority and city hall." [More in Mindanao Goldstar Daily by Herbie Gomez and Jigger Jerusalem. But page is gone.]

Copyright © Elson T. Elizaga. Published October 13, 2009. Updated November 29, 2009. Updated February 11, 2011. Link to "Bomb in Cagayan de Oro city hall" added August 9, 2013. Note on pork barrel scam added September 16, 2013.

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