DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur, Aug. 27 — The Department of Tourism (DOT 11) has intensified its campaign dubbed as Save Mt. Apo to bring back the beauty of the tallest peak in the country.
On Tuesday afternoon, DOT Assistant Secretary for Mindanao Arturo Boncato met with tourism officers of Davao del Sur to encourage them to do something in saving Mt. Apo from further destruction and degradation.
Boncato said it was very unfortunate that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently removed Mt. Apo from the list of World Heritage Sites in the world.
Three municipalities in the province have land areas that form part of the vast protected areas of Mt. Apo. They are Digos City, Sta. Cruz, and Bansalan.
According to Julius Paner, Tourism Officer of Sta. Cruz, they have already started to meet with the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to discuss and plan how to address the problems confronting the rampant throwing of garbage by irresponsible Mt. Apo climbers.
Paner said a proposal to increase the climbing fee to P1,500 was pushed to regulate the climbing activities excluding the climbers charges to porter and others. Each climber may spend P3,000 to climb Mt. Apo if the proposal will be approved.
Boncato welcomed such proposal if only to regulate the climbing activities especially during Holy Week.
But he said if it possible to close Mt. Apo for a span of one year just to rehabilitate and bring back the natural beauty of the peak then it should be the best move after all.
He said he will also be coordinating with Davao City and North Cotabato that have also trails in going to Mt. Apo. (PNA)
LAP/LCM/ANTHONY S. ALLADA/LDP