CHANGE.ORG Petition: "Stop Kidapawan City Government from Building a 7-km Stairway to Mount Apo"
Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
RAMON R. JIMENEZ, JR., Department Of Tourism
Kidapawan City Government, Investment and Tourism Promotions Office
Datu Tungko M. Saikol, Regional Executive Director, DENR Region 12
For. Ali M. Hadjinasser, OIC-Chief, Protected Areas And Wildlife Division, DENR Region 12
Senator Loren Legarda, Chairwoman, Climate Change Oversight Committee
Senator Pia Cayetano, Senate of the Philippines
We, the citizens of the Republic of the Philippines, petition the city of Kidapawan to discontinue the proposed 7-km stairway to the summit of Mt. Apo.
We oppose this idea because we strongly believe that the mountain's endemic flora and fauna will be greatly affected by the structure. Mount Apo harbors the largest number of few remaining identified habitats of the majestic and endemic but endangered Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), the most critically threatened bird species in the Philippines of outstanding universal value for science and conservation, whose nesting and feeding areas are located in dipterocarp forests including closed canopy forests. Aside from the Philippine eagle, Mount Apo also hosts hundreds of endemic species of flora and fauna. Its floral list includes 629 species, 42 of which are endemic and 18 species are considered at risk, including the Waling-Waling (Vanda sanderiana) which is recognized as the Queen of Philippine Orchids and recommended by plant enthusiasts as the Philippine National Flower.
Mt. Apo is a declared Protected Area under Republic Act 9237 as a Natural Park, and Chapter V SEC. 16. Prohibited Acts and Penalties says, "(5) Destroys, damages, mutilates, defaces, or commits any act of vandalism on any object of natural beauty, object of anthropological or cultural importance, or non-renewable resource within the protected area;" Chapter VI SEC.21. says, "Utilization of Non-renewable Resources. Any exploration, exploitation or utilization of nonrenewable resources within the protected area shall not be allowed." We think that this plan of building a stairway to the summit of Mount Apo is clearly a prohibited act according to REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9237.
If such structure will be built on the mountain, Mount Apo Natural Park may be removed from UNESCO's tentative list of World Heritage Sites. We must preserve and conserve the Mount Apo Natural Park, instead of defacing or disfiguring the mountain.
Another concern is the current garbage management system in the Mount Apo Natural Park. With the current amount of garbage in the area, we fear that with an easier access to the summit, more irresponsible people will leave their garbage behind. The people who are currently managing the Mount Apo Natural Park couldn't even manage the amount of garbage brought by a minimal number of mountaineers, what more if more tourists will flock because of the easy access.
We also think that it is best to allocate the funds for this stairway to projects which are needed by the constituents of the city of Kidapawan (i.e classrooms, livelihood projects, power crisis, etc.)
We demand that the Kidapawan City Investment and Tourism Promotions Office cancel this proposed project at once.