DAVAO CITY — The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) passed a resolution on Thursday, March 31 to indefinitely close Mt. Apo from trekkers after a grassfire razed the peak of the mountain.
The PAMB, which oversees the Mt. Apo, also passed a resolution to use the Integrated Protected Area Fund (IPAF).
Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Walter Ruezo of Makilala, North Cotabato moved for the indefinite closure of Mt. Apo “to prevent it from further degrading. Mt. Apo is now on ablaze due to the grassfire that reportedly started on March 26.”
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Executive Director Joselin Marcus Fragada said based on the assessment of the Incident Management Team (IMT), “around 300 hectares to 320 hectares mostly grassland areas, have been gutted. Fire volunteers are still establishing fire line to prevent the fire from spreading.
Fragada presided at the PAMB meeting held at the Incident Command Post (ICP) in Barangay Kapatagan in Digos City, Davao del Sur.
He appealed for more assistance including water and food, and more fire volunteers as the grass fire is seen to last for “about five days to 10 days.”
“We are in dire need of assistance for operation and secondly, for rehabilitation, “he said.
Fragada said the “investigation is still going on”, brushing aside speculations that the fire was caused by some trekkers’ “malpractices”.
He said the funds from trekking fees and other local government income generated from the Mt. Apo tourism activities will be used for urgent operation to put out the grass fire.(davaotoday.com)