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DENR XII Regional Executive Director (RED), Atty. Felix S. Alicer and the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) suspended the trekking activities in Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape (MMPL) as he presided over the 1st quarter PAMB-MMPL meeting on March 19, 2021 at EMR Center, Koronadal City.
 
RED Alicer, who happens to chair the board with its members decided to momentarily postpone the reopening of trekking activities until the PAMB guidelines have been updated.
 
“Clear and specific guidelines for trekking and monitoring must be established and enforced before we open it again to the public. Since there are different entry and exit points in the Local Government Units, the concern on carrying capacity must also be discussed thoroughly”, Alicer said.
 
The MMPL activities were put on hold following the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines issued during the pandemic last March 2020.
 
As per PAMB Resolution No. 11, series of 2016 or a Resolution approving the revised Mt. Matutum Recreational Guidelines for Mountain Trekking, Hiking, Camping and Other Forms of Outdoor Activities and its Corresponding Environmental Fees, fifty (50) people are allowed in the summit per day.
 
Alicer also instructed the PAMB through the Ecotourism, Sustainable Project Development and Financing Committee to check and update the said PAMB Resolution before recommending the reopening of trekking activities in the said protected area.
 
The board also discussed the passage of a resolution declaring the 3rd week of March as Linggo ng Mt. Matutum which celebrates and highlights the biodiversity and importance of Mt. Matutum in the region.
 
Furthermore, the board deliberated the proposal to hire a legal counsel for MMPL, including the demarcation of MMPL to be conducted this CY 2021, and updates on the board’s daily operations.
 
The meeting was attended by the PAMB and selected Technical Working Group members namely: Dr. Ali M. Hadjinasser of the Conservation and Development Division, Atty. Racman Bubong of the DENR XII Legal Division, Provincial and Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer of South Cotabato and General Santos City PENRO Radzak Sinarimbo and CENRO Maria Elvira Lumayag respectively, and the Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) of MMPL For. Efren C. Hibaler and staff. | PKFarrol (Photos by: RJEbita)