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GenSan steps up watch vs. illegal treasure hunting

January 27, 2021 - Wednesday 9:01 PM by PNA

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The city government has stepped up its monitoring against possible illegal treasure hunting in several upland areas here.

Allan Marcilla, head of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, said Wednesday they are closely working with the barangays to check for the presence of tunnels and other ground diggings made by treasure hunters.

The move came after the discovery of treasure hunting on Tuesday at a portion of Purok 8 in Barangay Upper Labay.

It was uncovered after one of those behind the illegal activity, local farmer Jovani Dizon, 38, was killed in an accident inside a tunnel in the area on Monday afternoon.

A police report said the victim was working inside the tunnel around 1:30 p.m. when he was accidentally hit by a huge stone on the head.

The victim’s wife Regina admitted that her husband and four other persons, whom she did not identify, had been working at the tunnel for over a month in search of supposed gold treasures buried at the site.

Marcilla said they were not aware of the treasure hunting and was also only informed about it after the accident.

“A similar activity previously happened in Barangay Conel but we already stopped it,” he said in an interview.

The official said treasure hunting may be allowed if the operators have proper permits from the National Museum.

He said the treasure hunters should also secure a permit and clearance from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) before they can conduct any digging or similar activities.

Such activities will not be allowed in areas or sites that are classified as prone to various hazards, especially landslides, he said.

“We will not tolerate any illegal treasure hunting activity and we’re ready to file the appropriate charges against those behind them,” he added. Richelyn Gubalani

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