BAGUIO CITY, Feb. 8 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) plans to impose additional requirements for hikers wanting to climb Mount Pulag in the wake of the forest fire that damaged a large portion of the national park recently.
DENR-Cordillera Regional Director Ralph Pablo said that based on the recommendations of the Bureau of Fire Protection(BFP), DENR may require Pulag visitors to bring portable fire extinguishers and manual backpack sprayers if they intend to camp out at the summit.
Cooking areas shall be designated at the camp sites and ranger stations to avoid another occurrence of a fire incident at any portion of Pulag. Fire swatter or fire breaker shall be made available at the different cooking areas to help stop the fire immediately.
As part of the amendments of existing Eco-Tourism Basic Policy on the Do’s and Don’ts as recommended by BFP-CAR, porters and guides shall have regular training on fire fighting for them to serve as Fire Brigade Volunteers considering the distance and terrain of the mountain.
In addition, every trekker shall mandatorily bring a safety whistle as one of the pre-requisite before ascending the park to be utilized to warn or to call for help and attention from nearby bystanders during fire incident or any emergency.
Aside from adding more rules for hikers, Pablo said the DENR is also preparing measures to speed up the rehabilitation of the burned grassland area covering at least six hectares.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, in a statement, said he supports plans and measures that the local DENR office may deem necessary to protect the national park and its visitors. He also urged trekkers to observe the park rules not only to ensure their safe and enjoyable visit, but also to help preserve Mt. Pulag’s fragile landscape and ecosystems
"The DENR is mandated to protect Mt. Pulag, but it is imperative that hikers and visitors do their part as well,” Cimatu said.
“Mt. Pulag has one of the richest biodiversities from the foot of the mountain to its summit and we must all be responsible agents for its conservation," he added.
Mt. Pulag National Park is a protected area designated as a component of the National Integrated Protected Areas System. As such, it is classified as a forest reservation.
Section 78 of the Revised Forestry Code penalizes anyone who occupies, possesses and/or causes destruction to forest or grazing lands. This criminal offense includes negligently causing a fire within forest or grazing lands. Redjie Melvic Cawis (JDP/RMC & A.Fernandez- PIA CAR/ UC Intern)