Heritage Conservation Advocates
Schizophrenia or serious dementia, the Huluga fiasco
Bencyrus G. Ellorin, Mindanews, July 11, 2003

It cannot be said that the city’s decision-makers are ignorant on the importance of the Huluga archeological sites in Taguanao and Indahag in this city, because they really are.

It can even be said (even figuratively) that the people steering the city may be suffering from serious dementia (bungaw) or worse, schizophrenia, or are having split personality.

Officials have denied to high heavens that no serious damage has been done by the access road of the Taguanao-Balulang Bridge when in fact, the access road in Taguanao literally sliced through the Open Site of the Huluga archeological complex.

They would say that they are for the preservation and protection of the city’s cultural heritage sites and at the same time declare that the Taguanao-Balulang bridge (otherwise known the 4th Bridge) is far more important than the Huluga archeological sites.

Nobody’s saying we don’t need the bridge! But why this bridge is slicing through the very important Huluga Open Site is very disturbing.

Wasn’t the proposed 4th Bridge used to be known as Balulang-­Tibasak Bridge?

Had it not been transferred to Balulang-Taguanao, there could have been no destruction of the Huluga archeological sites.

Those who decided to transfer the bridge site may have millions of reasons for this decision!? Haayy!

For beginners, the Huluga archeological complex has two declared archeological sites, the Cave Site and the Open Site. The National Museum in 1991 assigned the Cave Site an accession number X-91Q2, while the Open Site with X-91R2.

Archeological sites are areas where archeological artifacts are found. Needless to say, that the Huluga complex with artifacts as old as 1600 BC is an archeological site.

Even City Hall recognizes this that on Sept. 28, 1999, the stamp pad, este, City Council of the Emano administration passed Resolution no. 4433-99, entitled:

“Resolution Declaring the Huluga Caves Area Located in Taguanao and Indahag as a Heritage Landmark and Likewise Declaring it a Policy to Develop, Protect and Preserve the Same.”

In policy, they claim to be for the preservation of the city’s cultural heritage, but in action, they are destroying them.

And now, here comes the statement of a top tourism official that if the bulldozers did not find significant archeological artifacts when they built the road, there must be no significant damage to the Huluga archeological complex’s Open Site. Duh!

Is this a case of placing one’s feet in the mouth or a case of “Halu! Anything in there?”

Well, it may be apt to tell this tourism official that archeologists don’t work with bulldozers, they use microscopic tools and even paint brushes.

Now, there is the Environment Management Bureau 10 (EMB-10) admitting that there was no Archeological Impact Assessment done on the bridge project as a pre-requisite to the issuance of the project’s Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) because when they plotted the coordinates provided to them using GIS technology, the Huluga archeological sites are far from the bridge.

They must be kidding! How come? Is the EMB-10 now saying that the land of the former Regional Executive Director Fernando Quililan who was booted out from his seat in the DENR’s Macabalan office for alleged complicity with loggers lately is far from the bridge project, when in fact, the land of this man sits on the Taguanao end of the bridge?

The Huluga complex is right in the vicinity of this official’s land.

Aren’t these people from the EMB-10 supposed to do field work and not just decide based on what they find in the comfort of their desks? Come on guys, you’re not paid by hard-earned tax payers’ money to give us this BS!

At first glance, this doesn’t seem problematic, but if you come to think of it, the value of the lands near the bridge and access roads would skyrocket once this project is done. Well, talk about land speculation! Talk about money, millions!

You can ask any real estate broker or even just common sense to know that the bottom line here is money, tragically at the expense of the city’s and even the country’s priceless cultural heritage.

And isn’t it very disturbing that this guy who owns lands in Taguanao, who approved the project’s ECC, is reportedly a close ally of the guy in City Hall who thinks he’s sitting in a throne?

Haayyy! Maayo gyud mong tanan ipang-pakog! End