KIDAPAWAN CITY, COTABATO PROVINCE - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region XII through the office of Mt. Apo Natural Park (MANP) Cotabato has gained support from more than 100 volunteers from partner local government units (LGUs), agencies, groups and other stakeholders during the recent simultaneous clean-up drive inside the protected area.
 
According to a report from MANP Cotabato, the 132 volunteers were able to collect a total of 199 kilograms of non-biodegradable garbage from Mandangan-Kidapawan and Bongolanon-Magpet Trails, Lake Venado Campsite and Mt. Apo Summit.
 
The report also unveiled that 72 out of the 199 kilograms of trash were breakable bottles of liquors and beverages and others were mixed plastic food packaging.
 
DENR-12 Regional Executive Director (RED) Atty. Felix S. Alicer reminded the public that Mt. Apo is a legislated protected area and it is strictly managed in order to protect and conserve its natural resources.
 
“Mt. Apo is one of the last frontiers of the country. Aside from being the highest peak, it is also one of the Philippines’ significant biodiversity areas. It is the home of various endangered species and one of which is the Philippine Eagle,” he said.
 
RED Alicer stressed that improper disposal of solid waste is one of the issues that threatens the biodiversity in the natural park.
 
“As the Chair of Sub-Protected Area Management Board of MANP in Cotabato site, we are pushing for measures in order to arrest these issues concerning the Mt. Apo,” he said.
 
Shirley P. Uy, protected area superintendent of MANP Cotabato Site, said that aside from clean-up drive, traces of vandalism were also covered by the volunteers.
 
She said that the volunteers were also able to plant at least two seedlings of trees along their assigned trails.
 
“MANP is very rich in biodiversity. We need to preserve it and the effort should not only be coming from us. It should be a universal effort,” she said.
 
Meanwhile, RED Alicer thanked the volunteers for showing their support to the environment by joining the clean-up drive in MANP Cotabato.
 
“We are expressing our gratitude to all the volunteers for showing their love to the environment, especially the Mt. Apo,” he said.
 
“The DENR cannot do it alone and we need to work hand in hand in order to preserve and protect our remaining resources,” RED Alicer added.
 
The simultaneous clean-up drive of MANP Cotabato in partnership with Tourism and ENR Offices of LGUs Magpet and Kidapawan was joined by volunteers from Philippine National Red Cross-Kidapawan Chapter, Guardians of Lake Venado, Mt. Apo Foundation Inc., TRIMMOC, SAMEC, KIDUMOC, Kamote Law Mission, Lakbay-Tribu Exploration, Alpha Kappa Rho Fraternity & Sorority, Bureau of Fire Protection, Kidapawan IP Youth, Kidapawan City DRRMO (Call 911) and MANP Porters and Guide Association of Magpet and Kidapawan City. | With report from MANP Cotabato