Rizal fossils excavation set from July to August
RIZAL, Kalinga Mayor Melchor Dela Cruz said the annual excavation of fossils here by the French government will begin in July and last for a month which started since 2013 following the discovery of rhinoceros fossils in the town recently.
Open to observers, he said that this year's activities restrict picture taking and other commercial activities at the site to avoid damage to fossils which covers a four square meter area with a depth of seven meters.
Photos are not allowed at the site some 11 kms from the municipal hall because carbon dating processes need to be done on the rocks and bones before they are presented to the public.
Dela Cruz added the National Museum with the French government and Rizal government officials
presented to the public the fossils unearthed from 20142015 on May 10 at a national press conference. The discovered bones and tools, according to Dela Cruz are scientifically processed in France. These bones are also cast in an attempt to make a replica of the animals that existed some 700,000 years ago. Dela Cruz said as of the latest carbon dating tests, the age of the artifacts are 709,000 years.
The mayor added the possibilities of finding a Kalinga man among the fossils will put Rizal, Kalinga as the home of the oldest human in the country.
Protected by PD 1109 s. 1977 declaring the archeological areas in Cagayan Valley and Kalinga-Apayao archeological reserva tion, Mayor Dela Cruz has enjoined the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Tourism (DOT), and other government agencies to prevent commercial or agricultural activities in the area. He has also stopped an illegal fencing and farming activities in the area by designating a municipal guard and prosecuting persons attempting to enter the area.
Dela Cruz said he also accosted the first archeological team composed of international archeologists and University of the Philippines members when they presented a permit issued by the National Museum to excavate in an area of Solana, Cagayan.
The mayor told them the area they were excavating did not belong to Cagayan but to Kalinga. This had actually forged the formal linkage of the municipality with the government of France funding the expedition.
This has also pointed out that Solana, Cagayan was not to claim the site as United Nations Education Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Heritage Site but Rizal, Kalinga as the rightful municipality and locale.
As of the moment, the annual expedition and the expanding area where more artifacts are being unearthed have prompted the preparation of the museum that will house the growing number of bones from different animals.
As France casts replicas of the bones, Dela Cruz looks forward to the first replica of the ancient animals and possibly the bones of the first human in the Philippines or the Kalinga man.
Today, one can reach the municipal hall of Rizal via the Tuguegarao Santiago Road. Turn right into the Romualdez Police Station and drive some four kilometers to the new municipal building. The mini museum is on the second floor where some of the original bones are displayed for tourists to see. From Tabuk, a commuter travels some 27 kilometers at a cost of P100, P50 for the jeep ye ride to Romualdez Police Station and P50 on tricycle to the municipal hall.