Hundred Islands National Park (PNA photo)

Alaminos City, Pangasinan – An alleged illegal treasure hunting activity at the Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) was discovered according to an official of the Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO).

Acting on an informant’s tip, CENRO western Pangasinan officer-in-charge, attorney Hipolito Salatan found a deserted barracks on one of the islands with suspected equipment used for mining — a generator set, two water pumps and several pipes.

“Bawal po ang mag-treasure hunting sa Hundred Islands (Treasure hunting is prohibited in Hundred Islands),” Salatan said.

while noting that the land formations are mostly composed of limestone.

HINP is part of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) as contained in Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, which bans acts that could likely harm the area.

The law imposes imprisonment at least one year for violators including a fine of at least PHP5,000.

The CENRO official further stressed, “Bawal po mag-mina or magtreasure hunt sa mga lugar na NIPAS, ultimo nga po kumuha ng bato o buhangin doon as souvenir hindi rin puwede (Mining and treasure hunting in places or areas under NIPAS is prohibited, even the simple act of taking stones or sands as souvenirs is not allowed).”

Some speculate that in one of the islands of HINP, one can find hidden the Yamashita’s Treasure” – a collection of treasures supposedly kept by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

In response to this discovery, authorities have implemented stricter measures to oversee the islands. (Jojo Mangahis)