MOUNT Arayat and its national park area is now being endorsed by the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources as among new protected areas of the country.
Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzales, Jr., who had been pushing for Mt. Arayat’s status, claimed that the area is currently facing environmental challenges like illegal logging.
“If no action is taken, it is only a matter of time before Arayat degrades into an unrecoverable husk of landmass devoid of life. It could also become a natural hazard to people living within its periphery,” he said.
Republic Act No. 11038, or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENipas) Act of 2018, mandates all national parks to be designated as initial component of the system and be subjected under a Protected Area Suitability Assessment (Pasa).
Gonzales said that the Pasa for Mt. Arayat shows the need to have it declared as a protected area the soonest possible time. Under such status Mt. Arayat will have its own funding sourced from the budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Mt. Arayat National Park is comprised of Mt. Arayat and some 3,715 hectares of its rolling and moderately rugged terrain. Mt. Arayat was formerly known as “Bunduk Alaya” or “Eastern Mountain” while Arayat is the name of the town where majority of the mountain’s area is located. Eventually, people began referring to the mountain as Mt. Arayat.