|DELA SERNA BEJA & ASSOCIATES LAW OFFICES
9 May 2008
The Honorable Constantino Jaraula
Mayor, City Hall
Cagayan de Oro City
RE: Protection and Preservation of Huluga
Dear Mayor Jaraula:
Our client, the HERITAGE CONSERVATION ADVOCATES (HCA) has
availed of all channels of communication to get the attention of the City
government regarding the sad state of Huluga. All such efforts, however,
has been unheeded.
In August of 2007, a small amount of hope dawned on our client’s
members when you showed interest to help in the preservation of
Huluga, unlike the previous administration. You asked our client, headed
by its President, Dr. Erlinda M. Burton, to research on the status of the
ownership of the Open Site and to report the same to you. They did have
some reservation, because you could have ordered the city legal office --
with all its resources and connections -- to do the research. Nevertheless,
the HCA proceeded to find and present to you the foregoing information:
It appeared from the records that the Original Certificate of Title No. 0-
6621 covering an area of 1, 055, 684 square meters was in the name of
Josefina B. Vda. De Neri and her siblings. On 5 January 1981, the Director
of Lands filed a civil case for Annulment of OCT No. 0662 and its
reversion to the State. While the case was pending, portions of the same
lot was subdivided and was awarded to several farmer beneficiaries by
virtue of a Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), as can be
gleaned from page 8 of the Certificate of Title hereto attached.
government through the Director of Lands won up to the Supreme Court
in its final and executory decision dated 4 March 2004.2 This results to the
issuance of 124 Transfer Certificates of Title in the name of the Republic of
the Philippines. Please refer to the attached CTC for the detailed
Memorandum of Encumbrancies with respect to the aforesaid land. Our
client already did their part in the bargain. In the spirit of justice and fair
play, it is their ardent prayer that now you will perform yours.
In the letter of Dr. Burton dated 6 November 2007, she conveyed to you their disappointment regarding the continuous quarrying in Huluga
despite your promise to protect it. The HCA was armed with a certificate
of deputization from the National Museum to act for and in behalf of the
National Museum and to perform the following functions, to wit:
1. Safeguard the interest of the government herein represented by the
National Museum by reporting immediately the activities related to the
excavation of archeological artifacts;
2. Verification of sites through written communication from the National
3. Honor claims (site findings) of first discoverer as first claimant;
4. Represent the National Museum on matters related to the archeological
5. Inform people re: Laws on Antiquities, viz. P.D. 374,
Dr. Burton urged you to stop the quarrying; to instruct the city legal
officer to file a case against the suspects; fence Obsidian Hill and other
areas in Huluga in consultation with the HCA and to plant signs that
prohibit extractive activities in Huluga and that warn of possible
prosecution. But our client did not receive any written reply or call from
As the city chief executive, the conservation, promotion and
popularization of the nation’s historical and cultural heritage and
resources, as well as artistic creation is subject to your regulation.3 This is
expressly provided by no less than our Constitution as well as special
laws such as the “Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act”,
later amended by PD 374.”
As shown by the CTC heretofore attached, it is clear that the site has
already become a private property. As much as our client respects the
ownership and the lawful possession of these CLOA awardees, they
cannot, however allow a part of our heritage to be easily forsaken without
putting up a fight.
It in this regard, our client strongly urge you again to perform the
following, to wit:
1. Expropriate the site where artifacts and fossils have been found, in the
open site and the caves area.
2. Construct thereon a replica of the prehistoric village where all the found
artifacts will be properly displayed. The lot owners, if they want to, may
be trained by archaeologist Dr. Erlinda Burton in the management of this
3. Enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the HCA, Hon.
Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, the Department of Agrarian Reform, and
the landowners with respect to the preservation and development of the
Huluga archaeological site.
4. Request the National Museum to form a committee to discuss the
possibility of declaring Huluga an Important Cultural Property, as
promised by Director Corazon S. Alvina in a letter to Dr. Burton.4
If any of these suggestions appeal to you, please feel free to contact HCA President Dr. Erlinda M. Burton. She is also the Curator of Museo de Oro, Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan. You can contact her through her
office phone line, 723116, local 2403 or cellular line 0917-3493-036. The
undersigned will also be privileged to accept any communication from
you regarding the matter.
We hope you give this matter your preferential attention.
Thank you very much.
RAQUEL B. LIMBACO
1 Attached herewith as Annex “A” is the copy of the Original Certificate of Title and the subsequent encumbrances appertaining to the
2 G.R. No. 139588, March 4, 2004 (REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by the DIRECTOR OF LANDS, petitioner, vs.
JOSEFINA B. VDA. DE NERI, SPS. GRACIANO B. NERI, JR. and VICTORIA BABIERA, SPS. VICTORIA NERI and MARIO
FERNANDEZ, RAMON NERI, SPS. TERESA NERI and ALBERTO YRASTORZA and the REGISTER OF DEEDS OF CAGAYAN DE
ORO CITY, respondents.; a copy thereto is also attached as Annex “B”
3 Article IV, Sec. 15 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution
4 Attached herewith is a copy of a letter from National Museum Director Corazon S. Alvina.