The Philippine government will work closely with the Japanese government and team of Microsoft co- founder Paul Allen on the alleged discovery of the wreckage of one of the Japanese biggest warships off central province of Romblon, a senior government official said.
American billionaire Paul Allen announced on Wednesday on his Twitter that his research team has found the wreckage of battleship Musashi on the seabed of Sibuyan Island. The ship was sank by American warplanes on Oct. 24, 1944 at the height of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a news briefing in Malacanang, the presidential palace, that the reported discovery of Musashi is now being verified by the National Museum of the Philippines and other concerned government agencies.
The discovery of an archaeological artifact such as Musashi is covered by Republic Act No. 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, he said.
“The National Museum is working closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the provisions of our existing laws are enforced and complied with,” he said.
These stakeholders include Romblon province, which is proximate to the Sibuyan Sea where the shipwreck has been allegedly found; the Japanese government as this involves the shipwreck of a World War II Japanese battleship and Allen’s organization, Coloma said.
Coloma said that part of the mandate of the National Museum is to coordinate or to inquire with the Philippine Coast Guard and other concerned government agencies.
“We will await the verification being done now by the National Museum. They are the lead agency of the government in doing what is needed regarding this development,” he added.
According to Allen’s camp, the billionaire took more than eight years in searching for the ill-fated ship.
Allen and his team discovered the wreckage in the Sibuyan Sea off the Philippines on March 1, using historical records from four different countries, detailed topographical data and advanced technology.
Allen’s team later confirmed their cooperation with both governments regarding the discovery.