DAVAO CITY, March 30 (PIA) A top official of the Department of Tourism XI expressed concern on the direct impact of the Mt. Apo forest fire to the local communities and the local stakeholders like the porters and habal-habal drivers whose livelihood might be affected by the incident.
Roberto Alabado III, director of the Department of Tourism XI said many porters, habal-habal drivers, local communities leading to the peak derive their income from the climbers who visit the site.
He said he is coordinating with the local government units in the area to come up with the data of the number of people affected by the incident.
Alabado welcomes whatever decision reached by the Protected Areas Management and the local government units of Bansalan, Digos and Sta Cruz to close down the climb as an offshoot of the forest fire and to give time for the mountain to be rehabilitated.
“It will be the decision of the PAMB on what to do. After all we have to check first the safety of the trails,” he said.
Alabado said that annually, 900 climbers pass through the Sta. Cruz trail, but more than 50 percent of the climbers comes from Davao Region alone per year.
He said an estimated 5,000 climbers from Davao Region alone, climb Mt. Apo yearly.
Alabado said he needs the data from the local government units to qualify this estimate. (PIA 11-Joey Sem G. Dalumpines)