DAVAO CITY -- Mt. Apo will be temporarily closed to hikers effective Mondya, April 1, to prevent possible forest fires during the dry season.
This, after the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) issued a temporary closure order last March 28 in Sta. Cruz Davao del Sur trails which covers Sta. Cruz, Digos and Bansalan.
With this order, all climbing, trekking, camping and other activities will be prohibited.
The order is a preemptive move to prevent forest fire due to El Niño, especially after hundreds of hectares in Mt. Apo caught fire in 2016.
As early as March 7, North Cotabato trails have also been closed.
“In order to decrease the risk of fire until PAGASA lifts the declaration of El Niño,” said Frank Buenaflor of the Davao del Sur Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office.
Mountaineer groups expressed their support to this move.
“Suportado nako na 4P’s proteksyon, promotion pud sa bukid,” said Jose Abajero, project chair of Lapuk Mountaineer.
(I support this, for the protection of the mountain.)
“I-reschedule na lang ang pagsaka,” said Tessa Abajero, also a member of Lapuk mountaineer group.
(We will just reschedule our climb.)
Those who have already planned a trip to Mt. Apo are advised to get a refund or just reschedule their trips.
Anyone who violates the PAMB order will be charged of violation of Republic Act 9237 or Mt. Apo Protected Area Act of 2003.