BACOLOD City – Three illegal “treasure hunters” were buried inside a tunnel they made when it collapsed on Wednesday in Barangay Boloc-Boloc, Sibulan, Negros Oriental.
They were identified as Algie Javier, 29, a former overseas Filipino worker; Feliciano Encilay Sr., 62, an employee of the Provincial Veterinary Office; and a certain Bobby Baldado.
They were all assumed dead, according to the police. Only their companion Mauro Alporte, 44, survived the collapse.
Personnel from the rescue team of Negros Oriental responded to the incident and were still conducting a search-and-retrieval operation as of Thursday.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) confirmed that the supposed treasure hunting activity was illegal.
It was conducted without necessary permits from the National Museum of the Philippines.
Engineer Edward Malahay of the MGB also said that the “treasure hunters” did not secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate.
Police were still investigating the illegal activity./PN