DAVAO CITY — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Davao Region has strongly reminded the public to trek responsibly, after the agency's officials, monitoring and assessment team members, as well as protected area conservationists observed man-made activities affecting Mount Apo.
DENR XI director Bagani Fidel Evasco, together with participants from other sectors and groups, trekked the Philippines' highest mountain over the weekend to conduct assessment of trail conditions and situations in campsites to strengthen preservation and conservation mechanisms.
They observed many trekkers ascended to Mount Apo, unbothered by rains and strenuous trails. However, they were dismayed when they found out that littering and vandalism were present along the trail, campsite, and in its environment.
"Trails and campsites were not just left with traces of footprints - so were empty soda and water bottles, face masks, and all other kinds of trash. Disappointingly, liquors and traces of drug substances were also observed in the area," DENR XI said in their Facebook post.
"Boulders were not just imprinted with footsteps and handgrips - it’s also engraved with vandalism," they added.
DENR XI urged trekkers to be responsible and follow the guidelines and policies set the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) as they will impose measures against those who will violate rules.
"It is all our duty to protect the 'King of Philippine Mountains' from exploitation as it is also a royalty when it comes to mitigating the threats of climate change," it said.
In November 2020, some trails going to Mount Apo's peak reopened after months of closure due to the pandemic.
Wildfires also affected hectares of Mount Apo's land, burning rare plants and century old trees on March 2016. - report from Hernel Tocmo