Cease-and-desist order vs 9 Mt. Apo encroachers
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Cease-and-desist order vs 9 Mt. Apo encroachers

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Protected Area Management Office (DENR-Pamo) has issued a cease-and-desist order against nine encroachers within the Strict Protection Zone (SPZ) at Mount Apo Natural Park.

In a letter addressed to the Punong Barangay of Tagurano, DENR-Pamo stated that, following an investigation and inspection conducted with MANP-Pamo, Park Rangers, Bantay Bukid, Barangay Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR), and other agencies, illegal structures were found within the protected area.

“The encroachment within the Strict Protection Zone (SPZ) of MANP, where illegal structures were sighted in Barangay Tagurano, Toril District, Davao City, wherefore proven to have existed and operated without pertinent permits from the lines agencies within the Mt. Apo Natural Park,” DENR-Pamo said.

The office issued the cease and desist order to the establishments on the morning of May 7, 2024.

In response, Barangay Tagurano issued Resolution Number 17, Series of 2024, adopting DENR's cease and desist order. Under the resolution, the upland areas of Tagurano will be temporarily closed since the letter was sent to the barangay on April 29.

The barangay emphasized the need for rehabilitation in the area, stating that it has been "disturbed by individuals or groups of people going in the area."

“The barangay will maintain the cleanliness of the place, protect, and conserve the wildlife (flora and fauna) in the area,” the resolution said. 

Danilo A. Camarillo, barangay captain of Tagurano, in a radio interview with GMA Super Radyo Davao, said 

that they will monitor the area for any violators of the resolution they passed regarding the temporary closure. He added that if there are still violators, they will request assistance from the police and plan to coordinate with PAMB-Digos to discuss regulating trekking activities in MANP.

Camarillo noted that, unlike the fully developed resorts in the Marilog District, the establishments in the uplands of Toril serve as resting places and 'sari-sari stores' for trekkers. 

He said that, together with concerned agencies, they have closed approximately nine establishments.

“Illegal activity gyud kay wala sila mananghid sa barangay, walay permiso gikan sa City Tourism, walay permiso sa NCIP, walay permiso sa DENR so totally zero gyud sila sa maong documentation (It is indeed an illegal activity because they did not seek permission from the barangay, city tourism, NCIP [National Commission on Indigenous People], or DENR, so they are totally lacking in documentation),” he said.

He added that some establishments have existed since 2017, and previous barangay captains have taken action against encroachers. 

He urged the encroachers to comply with the government's mandate since no legal action has been taken against them, and they have only received a cease-and-desist order.

Meanwhile, Angel’s View Cafe, one of the establishments issued a cease and desist order, announced in a video uploaded to its Facebook page on May 5 that it will officially close and expressed gratitude for the support received.

“Karung adlawa tapuson na natu ang atong ginatawag na panagkita kay dili naman ta, kita man guru ta sa Facebook ug sa bisag asa sa siyudad ba pero diri dili na naku masiguro kay nadesisyunan na sa amoang mga kaubanan nga mag close na gyud me (Today, we will conclude our gatherings because we will no longer be here. We might cross paths on Facebook or anywhere in the city, but here there's no guarantee, as our group has decided to permanently close the cafe),” one of the owners of Angel Cafe said in the video. 

In a separate video, they announced plans to relocate the cafe to lower parts of Toril and continue providing services to all their customers in a different location. RGP

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