With barely a week since Mt. Apo was reopened for trekkers on April 12, some irresponsible trekkers are already eyed illegally jumping off at Mt. Talomo in Davao City towards the country’s highest peak. It has been known that Mt. Talomo remained closed for trekkers and as trail to Mt. Apo. But trekkers deliberately violated this policy and notoriously continued with their illegal trekking. On April 12, the three trails –Kidapawan City, Magpet in North Cotabato, and Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur were opened signaling Mt. Apo is reopened for climbers but on certain strict conditions, rules and higher trekking fees.
Those who opted to jump off at Mt. Talomo surely intended to do so to shun the regulations being imposed at the identified trails. This also goes to show, they are delinquents who are considered threat to the environment especially to Mt. Apo Natural Park which is still on its healing stage from a forest fire last year, yet reopened to the public for abuse. Their indiscreet manner in scaling up to Mt. Apo proves they do not value the environment and merely want to satisfy their whims. The Watershed Management Council (WMC) did correctly in informing Mayor Sara Duterte about the unauthorized trekking at Mt. Talomo. WMC resolution identifies Mt. Talomo ridge as part of Mt. Apo and declared as protected area.
Someway, the uncovering of illegal trekkers at Mt. Talomo led to something significant which is the move of the city government to embark on a comprehensive ecotourism and cultural plan for Mt. Talomo to regulate trekking activities and protect the watershed. Mt. Talomo also serves as the nesting site of the Philippine Eagle which motivated further Mayor Sara Duterte to roll out a conservation plan for the mountain. Hoping this plan will be realized soon to safeguard Mt. Talomo from human destruction similar to the fate of Mt. Apo.