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ROUGH CUTS | One tactical move by the DENR?

So trekking to Mt. Apo this Lenten Week is prohibited; and the reason is to prevet the possibility of the occurrence of forest fire in the area?

Well, this is a welcome move by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region XI in coordination with its counterpart agency in Region 12 and the different local government units that have stake in the area.

The DENR through its attached agency, the Protected Area Management Bureau or PAMB, cited that the raging El Nino is rendering the entire mountain especially the one within the ambit of the Mt. Apo Natural Park (MANP), extremely vulnerable to forest fires.

This is so because the raging hot season is causing a good number of trees to die or their leaves falling to the ground. Naturally the dried leaves become highly combustible to the point that any non-extinguished cigarette butt thrown into the dried fallen leaves could ignite a conflagration.

And smoking is one vice that a smoker-trekker cannot leave behind when they climb the challenging Mt. Apo traill where coolness is getting extreme when trekkers are nearing the peak.

The DENR knows that tradition has it that the long holidays during the Lenten Week allows the adventure seekers enough time to do their passion. So there will likely be influx of mountain climbers on the way up the country’s highest peak.

But how wide is the area covered by the MANP and where are its boundaries? May be there is need to apprise the people the coverage of the MANP because these days the more enterprising businessmen are already invading highland communities for their kind of development aggression.

This temporary closure of Mt. Apo for trekkers brings to mind the still unresolved controversy brought about by the establishment of a resort at the foot of one of the many Chocolate Hills in Bohol, a heritage site declared by the United Nations.

So we are suggesting that DENR should make public the coverage of the MANP so that establishment of similar enterprises as the one in Bohol could be prevented.

Say, is Kapatagan, a mountain barangay of Digos City, outside or within the perimeter of the MANP? The area is now literally littered with resorts and other business establishments that cater to tourists and other visitors.

Early this week we saw on a television news maverick Sen. Raffy Tulfo mentioning during a Senate body hearing relative to the Chocolate Hills case, that he is aware of the existence of similar developments in the Mt. Apo slopes. We suspect that it will not take long for the public to know that the lawmaker may already be surreptitiously visiting the Mt. Apo area to validate what were reported to his office.

Thus, we suspect that the temporary closure and the statement of the DENR that its immediate reopening will undergo a very thorough study, could be part of efforts to obviate a more in-depth monitoring of activities and developments in the areas within MANP.

We hope though that Senator Tulfo or any member of the Senate Committee that has province over environment will make good soonest its ocular visit at the Mt. Apo and disclose any findings they have whether these are adverse or favorable to the local governments and the enterprising investors.


Recently we read about the life story of Pablo Escobar, the notorious drug lord from Medellin in Colombia, South America.

From his life of crimes we learned that while his illegal activities were open book in his country he still became a member of the Colombia Legislature. Of course his mountains of drug money made it for him.

But his feat is not alien in the Philippines where leaders of criminal syndicates, extortionists and what have you in the underworld, becoming mayors, congressmen, and governors.

Some of them even became close friends to some of the country’s top political personalities. Even until now some lucky crime bosses arte enjoying the limelight and accolade especially from the unknowing and those who have taken favors from these crime lords cum politicians.


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