In yesterday’s newscast of 24 Oras, GMA News reported the temporary closure of Mt. Apo. We are still awaiting confirmation from our own sources whether this would include the entire mountain, or just particular trails. (Update: Only the Kidapawan trail is closed according to some sources)
PinoyMountaineer.com was given a chance to air our side on the issue. We stated our stand that we are against the closure of Mt. Pulag, since there is no reason to do so. We reiterated the role of mountaineers as a “check and balance” that not only sustains ecotourism in a responsible way, but also acts as a form of surveillance against wrongful practices such as illegal logging and kaingin which in turn could lead to the brush fires. Just a clarification: the pictures we showed are those of Mt. Batulao and other mountains, they are not pictures of Mt. Pulag.
In the same news story, the PAMB Chairman Clarence Baguilat also recognized the beneficial role of mountaineers, and reaffirmed the status of Mt. Pulag as open -as of now. Since there are no compelling reason to reverse the situation, we hope that Mt. Pulag will remain open. I am glad that through this news story we are able to clarify this from the PAMB.
However, if the PAMB decides that Mt. Pulag will remain open, I hope that all mountaineers and visitors will act carefully and responsibly. Let us not give anyone any reason to doubt our stand that we are responsible and beneficial visitors to the National Park. Now that there is nationwide attention on the mountain fires, let us continue proving the point that we pose no harm to the environment. Hence, to use the overused but still very relevant motto, let’s us continue to “Take Nothing But Pictures, Leave Nothing But Footprints, Kill Nothing But Time.”