Philippines — The long drought has led the Kidapawan City tourism board to propose the closure of the trails to Mount Apo in June.
City tourism officer Joey Recimilla said the closure will prevent forest fires as there will be no chance mountain climbers could accidentally cause one.
There are irresponsible climbers who, not only destroy the mountain by bringing in there their garbage but also things, among them cigarettes, that might trigger a fire in the forest, said Recimilla.
He stressed he doesnt want a repeat of the forest fires that happened in 1993 and 1997 when dry spell also hit the province. It took days before forest fire fighters from at least three local government units in North Cotabato, which included Kidapawan, Magpet, and Makilala to put off the blaze then. Massive reforestation followed to rehabilitate the mountain.
We have just replanted trees in previously denuded areas in Mount Apo. [We dont want to be careless anymore.] We have to protect what we have replanted and is available in the mountain, he said.
Reports reaching the city tourism office said the water level of the Matingao and Marbel Rivers have started to decrease due to continued drought.
Even the streams and creeks have begun to dry up, which is already a cause of concern for us, especially those protecting the Mount Apo, he said.