Mt. Apo as geological monument hurdles City Council 2nd reading

Mt. Apo
Mt. ApoNella Lomotan

THE 20th City Council approved on second reading the declaration of Mount Apo as a geological monument during its session on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, held at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Councilor Temujin “Tek” Ocampo, chairperson of the committee on environment and natural resources, said in a phone interview with SunStar Davao that the proposal to declare Mount Apo as a geological monument originated from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Davao Region (DENR-Davao). 

The move aims to bolster the department's bid for inclusion in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) world heritage list, specifically the Unesco Global Geopark (UGGP).

Ocampo highlighted that the areas of Mount Apo on the Davao side, which are designated as protected areas, fall under the timberlands delineated in the city's new Comprehensive Land Use Plan (Clup).

“The reason why we declare it as a geopark in order, of course, to vie for the UNESCO heritage para ma proteksiyonan na siya'g tarong pag naa man gyud UN makatabang pod na sila, makahatag pod na sila funds to protect through DENR to protect the area (The reason why we declare it as a geopark is to properly protect it because the UN can aid in its conservation efforts. They could provide funds through DENR to safeguard the area),” he said.

Apart from Davao City, DENR-Davao will also collaborate with and encourage other areas such as Kapatagan in Digos City, which also has parts of Mount Apo within their jurisdiction, to designate the volcano as a geopark.

Ocampo said that existing laws such as Republic Act (RA) No. 9237, also known as the Mount Apo Protected Area Act of 2003, and RA 7586, or the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 as amended by RA 11038, already provide sufficient protection for the Philippines' highest peak.

“Actually with our existing laws sa Davao City palang daan ug mga republic acts natu nga magprotect our natural resources, actually it will suffice already ang atong declaration lang kay we are acknowledging the fact that we really need to protect the area murag reaffirmation natu nga kining lugara proteksiyonan gyud ni siya (Actually, with our existing laws in Davao City and the republic acts that protect our natural resources, it will suffice already. Our declaration is an acknowledgment of the fact that we really need to protect the area; it is like a reaffirmation that this area needs to be protected),” he said.

During the committee hearing, Enp. Lemuel Lloyd Manalo, program coordinator of Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis), said that recognizing Mount Apo as a geopark will promote education and conservation efforts in Davao City. Funding obtained through UNESCO will be utilized to enhance educational materials, communication programs, and interventions by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) concerning the payment for the ecosystem services scheme. RGP

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