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Mt. Apo illegal encroachers served cease and desist orders 

THE DEPARTMENT of Environment and Natural Resources Protected Area Management Office (DENR-PAMO) served a cease and desist order on May 7 to illegal encroachers within the Strict Protection Zone (SPZ) of the Mt. Apo Natural Park (MANP).

“Illegal structures were sighted in Barangay Tagurano, Toril District, Davao City, wherefore proven to have existed and operated without pertinent permits from the line agencies within the  Mt. Apo Natural Park,” DENR-PAMO stated in a letter to Barangay Tagurano chairman Danilo Camarillo on April 29.

The department cited the findings from the field verification and inspection report conducted by park rangers, Barangay Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative, Bantay Bukid in the area, barangay security, and through the technical conference with the different agencies.

The cease and desist order was issued according to Republic Act 11038 or “The National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.

“Constructing, erecting, or maintaining any kind of structure, fence or enclosure, conducting any business enterprise within the protected area without prior clearance from the PAMB and permit from the DENR, or conducting these activities in a manner that is inconsistent with the management plan duly approved by the PAMB,” R.A. 11028 Section 18, (o) states.

Following the PAMO advisory, the barangay council of Tagurano passed a resolution on May 6 temporarily closing the area for rehabilitation.

The barangay council recognized the areas were within the Mt. Apo Natural Park.

“The area needs rehabilitation for it is already disturbed by individuals or groups of people going to the areas,” the resolution further states.

The resolution highlighted maintaining the cleanliness of the place and conserving the flora and fauna in the area.

However, in a Facebook post on May 9, Barangay Tagurano said the sites may still be open to the public until further notice and legal actions taken by PAMB and DENR.

The sites will reopen with regulations on outdoor activities such as trekking, hiking, and camping guided by the existing law. 

“We are doing our best to legalize and regulate activities in the upper part of Brgy. Tagurano because it promotes the beauty and calmness of our place, helps the residents of the barangay earn a living for their families,” the Facebook post said.

Tarpaulins installed during the serving of the orders stated that the establishments are subject to compliance with the local government code licenses and Free Prior Informed Consent from the Indigenous cultural communities. 

The barangay local government, along with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, will also conduct an inventory to probe the alleged selling of lots, which violates Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.

The area of Tagurano upland is part of the ancestral domain of the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe. 

Selling and purchasing a portion of ancestral lands is prohibited in RA 8371, however, rent and use can only be allowed after a free prior and informed consent is issued. Violators face a fine of P100,000 to P500,000 or imprisonment of not less than nine months but not more than 12 years or both.



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