‘Talomo route to Mt. Apo is illegal’
DAVAO CITY—Mayor Sara Duterte on Tuesday warned mountain hikers and trekkers who enter Mt. Talomo to reach Mt. Apo—the highest peak of the country—that they face sanctions if they are caught by the authorities.
Mt. Talomo has been excluded from the list of Mt. Apo entry points for years to preserve its ecological value, especially since it is identified as the watershed area of the local government and the home of the Philippine eagle.
“We have received evidence that mountaineers and tour operators are entering Mt. Apo through Mt. Talomo,” Duterte said. “These illegal activities must be stopped, and the Davao City Government strongly reminds the public of the possible sanctions to be meted out to violators.”
Duterte, however, said Mt. Talomo will be open for tourists who would like to see its beauty after the city government, the Department of Tourism in Region 11, the Philippine Eagle Foundation and the Bagobo community living in the mountain rolled out a comprehensive eco-tourism and cultural plan.
“This will cover regulations that will ensure that the watershed area is protected from human activities that are injurious and destructive to the environment,” Duterte said.
Mt. Apo was closed to tourists for a year due to a forest fire that lasted for two weeks, but the Protected Area Management Board ended the closure last April 12.
PAMB limits the number of trekkers to 50 people per trail, and increased its environmental fees to P2,000 per person as the standard entry fee, P2,500 during peak season. The bureau also raised the exit fee to P1,000 for the regular season and P1,500 for peak season.