THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Davao Region (DENR-Davao) is pushing for the inclusion of Mt. Apo in the prestigious Unesco Global Geoparks list.

“Application is ongoing for the Unesco geothermal park,” said DENR-Davao Director Bagani Fidel Evasco on December 7, 202. “Maybe in April or May, we can take off and submit all the necessary documents needed for the Unesco (application).”

According to their website, the Unesco Global Geoparks recognizes “single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes (are) of international geological significance.”

Known to be the tallest mountain in the Philippines, Mt. Apo is a protected area currently listed in the UN List of National Parks and Equivalent Reserves and recognized as an Asean Heritage Park.

However, the Unesco Global Geoparks provides a more prestigious recognition similar to the Unesco World Heritage.

According to Evasco, Mt. Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental is one of two sites listed as both a Unesco World Heritage and Asean Heritage site, the other one being the Tubbataha Reef Natural Park in Palawan.

DENR-Davao initially applied for the Unesco recognition in 2009 but was removed from the Unesco tentative list of sites in 2015 due to impacts of illegal logging, poaching, exploitation, and urban and agricultural intrusions.

Forest protection

Meanwhile, Aboitiz Power subsidiary Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) turned over communication equipment to support DENR’s forest protection program on December 7, 2021.

The communication equipment -- which includes a Trauma Go kit, hard hat, radio chest harness, and uniform, among others -- will be utilized by forest rangers patrolling in Mt. Apo and Mt. Hamiguitan.

According to Mt. Apo Protected Area Superintendent Joel Pardillo, the equipment, especially the radio, are vital tools when traversing the deep forest of Mt. Apo.

“Maka communicate ta, (especially) sa law enforcement, very important kay ato gipakusgan ang law enforcement activities against timber poaching and illegal trekking,” said Pardillo.

Davao Light hopes that the forest patrollers are now more equipped to manage and protect the forests and slopes of Mt. Apo while being safe from the hazards that come with their daily tasks.