No cave treasure hunting without permit!

Treasure hunters beware! No more cave exploring in search of lost treasures without a permit, so says the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources!

DENR requires treasure hunters to get permits
The Philippine Inquirer, 19 December 2007

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued an administrative order requiring treasure hunters to secure a permit before digging in caves across the country.

Administrative Order No. 2007-34 was aimed at conserving, protecting and managing the flora and fauna in the caves from destructive treasure hunting, Environment Secretary Lito Atienza said.

On one hand, it’s quite gratifying to see that some Southeast Asian countries actually have laws to protect archaeological ‘treasure’, but I find it a little strange that the law comes under the department of environment, and is only limited to caves – in fact, the law looks like it’s designed to protect flora and fauna in caves.

But the National Museum also gets a say in the finds:

Once hidden treasures are dug up, the National Museum will be called to assess whether these are of cultural and historical value. If they have such a value, they will be turned over to the Museum.

Otherwise, they will be turned over to the Oversight Committee for Treasure Hunting.

You can read more about the administrative order here. It’s a step in the right direction, I guess, but in the long run I wonder if there’s some sort of overarching protection for archaeological treasures in the Philippines, rather than piecemeal bylaws.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

4 thoughts on “No cave treasure hunting without permit!”

  1. It’s a bit like locking the stable door……………..
    At least they are taking steps to protect the caves.

  2. Cavers,

    OH NO !!!…our native assets found several gold bar stockpiles in several caves in remote areas…Its okey, no need to ask DENR permit, bcoz their is NO digging anyway, all we have to do is haul it…and besides we are not foolish enough to inform DENR…hehehe

    Indiana Jones of the Phil.

  3. Hello!

    may I know if you you know if the marking shown on pictures are japanese stones markings?? The site is in Calinan, Davao City . We are just curious if this is natural or man made marks..
    If so , a reply from you is much appreciated .. thank you very much for your help..

    Pls see link/
    http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn168/melloew/JPNESEBOULDERSIGN.jpg

    http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn168/melloew/japaneseletteronstones.jpg

    Thanks for your reply.

    melloew

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