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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 5, 2019
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The search for treasures

Ninfa Leonardia

A tunnel collapsed and buried three men, reportedly engaged in a treasure-hunting activity after one of them had gotten information that there were gold and also diamonds beneath it. Unfortunately for them, the ground caved in and buried alive one whose body was found, but two others were missing as of Thursday, and hopes had began to dim for the families they left behind. Well, this is not the first reported case of treasure hunters having paid with their lives while searching for fortunes.

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Unfortunately, their mission was considered “illegal” by the authorities, that is, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, as the hunters had not acquired the permits required by the National Museum of the Philippines. So they have no other persons or entities to blame for their tragedy. We are not saying that greed was what had motivated them, but a lot of historical reports have shown that the hunt for treasures has never been a safe or successful venture.

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In later years, the hunt for treasures was romanticized by a song called “The Treasure of Sierra Madre” where the singer lyricized his trip to the famed mountains to join the adventurers seeking for the gold reported to be existing in the place. He instead wrote a song, which many of my contemporaries must still remember, titled “The Treasure of Sierra Madre”, that ended with the lines “I didn’t find the treasure/ I was looking for/ I didn’t find the fortune/ I found much more/ For you are the treasure of Sierra Madre/ And your love is the gold/ That I tenderly hold in my arms!”

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I hope some potential treasure hunters remember that and be more prudent in having themselves enticed into joining such missions in the hope of getting rich. I recall also another story about a woman during the days of the Roman empire whose wealthy friend displayed before her a collection of jewelry worth a king’s ransom, as the cliché goes. There were rings, necklaces, earrings, collars and even tiaras adorned with the biggest and costliest gemstones she had ever seen. After the display, he friend asked her, “Cornelia, now show me also your jewels”. Cornelia, instead, called her two handsome sons and told her, simply. “These are my most precious jewels”.

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Good heavens! What a startling headline the Manila Bulletin had yesterday that said: “PNP accuses Daraga mayor on Batocabe killing”. The item quoted no less than Philippine Police Director General Oscar Albayalde as saying that double murder cases and six counts of frustrated murder have been filed against Mayor Carlwin Baldo of Daraga, Albay, because of the death of Batocabe and the injuries to his companions. Indeed that was a heartless deed, killing someone, no matter what his or her status in life had been, three days before Christmas Day! Surely those accused must be Godless persons whose hearts could sanction taking lives of others on those holy days. If truly guilty they should be given their just desserts.

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Now here’s another sin that also cries to heaven for vengeance. This is the discovery that the less P332 BILLION in funds earmarked for floods and for assistance to their victims had been unearthed in Naga City in Albay. Now, we cannot understand how such a big amount of money could be spirited away, if only one or two persons were involved. There must have been collusion among several people and I hope the culprits behind this will be exposed soon and made to face judgement for their treasonous deed.

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Meanwhile Christmas has just gone by and the New just begun, but the name-calling game has started again. You don’t have to guess who the culprits are, of course, they are self-exiled head of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the “Palace”, that recently seems to be the alias of the President. This time the “Palace” started it by calling Jose Maria Sison, a.k.a. JOMA, an “illusionist”. This time, though, it was the Presidential spokesperson who said so, who baited Sison by saying that his 50-year old rebellion has failed and instead, harmed the people he is supposed to defend. The riposte from JOMA is a warning that the socio-economic and political crisis in the country will worsen in the new year!

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Well, let the time tell which of them is right. JOMA, with his long distance observations, or the Palace, that has painted a rosy future for everyone this new year. It truly depends on what angle you are coming from. Remember the story of the blind men and the elephant? Each one touched a different part of the body of the beast and identified the animal by it. So each brought home a different memory of what the elephant looked like!*

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