A total of 199 kilos of trash were collected at the Mt. Apo Natural Park, weeks after it faced closure due to garbage, vandalism, and violations committed by some trekkers in the area.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region XII, through the office of Mt. Apo Natural Park (MANP) Cotabato, as well as 132 volunteers from partner local government units (LGUs), agencies, groups and other stakeholders, conducted a simultaneous clean-up drive last week at the country's highest mountain.
DENR-MANP said in a statement Monday that the 199 kilos were non-biodegradable waste collected from Mandangan-Kidapawan and Bongolanon-Magpet Trails, as well as in Lake Venado campsite and Mt. Apo' summit.
Of the total, 72 kilos were breakable bottles of liquors and beverages and others were mixed plastic food packaging.
DENR 12 regional director Felix Alicer reminded trekkers and climbers to follow the rules and help them protect and conserve Mt. Apo and its natural resources.
“Mt. Apo is one of the last frontiers of the country. Aside from being the highest peak, it is also one of the Philippines’ significant biodiversity areas. It is the home of various endangered species and one of which is the Philippine Eagle,” he said.
He said they are pushing for stricter measures in order to address the issues concerning the Mount Apo.
DENR said volunteers also covered traces of vandalism at Mt. Apo, and they were able to plant at least two seedlings of trees along their assigned trails.
Last month, DENR in Davao region said that temporary closure of the country's highest mountain is possible, following violations committed by some trekkers and mountaineers.
DENR officials earlier found out during their trail and camp assessment last Feb. 11-14 that littering and vandalism were also present along Kapatagan trail, campsite, and in its environment.
But in an emergency en banc meeting on Feb. 23, the deferment of the proposal to close Mt. Apo was chosen, after 25 of the members, both in Region 11 and 12, voted in favor of the motion to delay the closure, while eight others were against it.
Despite the plan being deferred, DENR said they are firm in pursuing its strategic plans to improve the condition of Mt. Apo. - report from Hernel Tocmo
FROM THE ARCHIVES