DENR warns of possible closure of Mt. Apo due to trekking violations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2021 03:29 AM

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Davao region on Monday said that temporary closure of the country's highest mountain is possible, following violations committed by some trekkers and mountaineers.

DENR officials initially found out during their trail and camp assessment last February 11 to 14 on Mount Apo's Kapatagan trail that littering and vandalism were present along the trail, campsite, and in its environment.

Many violations were also observed, including the non-observance of the IATF guidelines in terms of social distancing, unregulated noise along the trails and camps, and the presence of an alarming cultivation beyond the strict protection zone.

Since its reopening last November 2020 after the closure due to the pandemic, DENR has limited the number of trekkers from 50, which is the regular capacity, to 25 climbers per climb per day, which is a 50% reduction of trekkers in compliance to SUB-PAMB Resolution No.27, Series of 2020 and IATF Omnibus Guidelines.

The assessment report also revealed that there is possible use of prohibited substances on Mount Apo due to presence of marijuana found at the 87 degree trail going to the crater and peak.

DENR XI Regional Director Bagani Evasco has ordered anew its officials to further intensify the enforcement of environmental laws.

"If left unabated, the closure of Mt. Apo might be possible in the coming days, when necessary, in order to pave the way for the immediate rehabilitation of the Natural Park’s Trails and Campsites," the DENR XI said in a statement.

- report from Hernel Tocmo

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