DENR sets consultations on higher fees for Mount Apo trekkers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 March) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be holding public consultations with residents and other stakeholders in areas around Mount Apo on the proposal to increase to as much as P1,500 the visitor’s fee for the country’s tallest peak.

Speaking at the sidelines of Monday’s Kapehan sa SM, DENR Mt. Apo Park Superintendent Edward Ragasa said imposing higher fees would help control the accumulation of waste left behind by climbers of Mount Apo.

Ragasa was referring to Resolution 2015-01 of the Mount Apo Protected Area Management Board that local government units shall adopt common policies for trekkers to the park.

The PAMB, which is composed of representatives from local government units, other government agencies and nongovernment organizations, is the policymaking body of Mount Apo.

The resolution requires trekkers to pay P1,000 during non-peak seasons and P1,500 during peak seasons like the Lenten period.

In addition, trekkers who come down using a trail other than that which they use upon entering would be asked to pay an “exit fee” whose amount would depend on the season.

The six-page resolution also itemized the mechanisms and penalties for violations of the laws governing Mt. Apo.

The resolution was approved by DENR regional director Joselin Marcus Fragada.

According to Ragasa, a cleanup drive held by different groups in June 2014 gathered at least two tons of garbage.

“That’s what we’re trying to avoid,” he said, adding the move could discourage undisciplined climbers.

He said it will also help ensure the protection of the biodiversity and sustainable development of the area.

He added the representatives of the LGUs around Mt. Apo agreed to the proposal.

Mount Apo can be accessed via trails in Digos City, Davao City, Kidapawan City, Magpet and Makilala towns in North Cotabato, and Bansalan and Sta. Cruz towns in Davao del Sur. (MindaNews)