DAVAO CITY (PIA) – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will be leading a government, communities and private sector collaboration in establishing the Mount Apo Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center.
MinDA Secretary Maria Belen Acosta together with stakeholders, development partners, and representatives of communities surrounding the Mt. Apo area from Regions 11 and 12, have recently sealed a commitment of support to activities aimed at saving the remaining populations of wildlife and the proposed MAWRCC.
The MAWRCC will feature facilities such as animal rescue center, conservation and breeding, education and research, and eco-tourism, explained Director IV Joey Recimilla of MinDA’s Policy, Planning, and Project Development Office.
Recimilla said that the center is projected to be managed like the Philippine Eagle Center.
“This endeavor needs a gathering of minds and resources, and that is exactly what we are trying to achieve with the creation of this technical working group that we are honored to be part of,” Acosta stated in her message.
She said environment protection forms part of MinDA’s larger goals of sustainable development for Mindanao.
“I am aware that there may be challenges, particularly when it comes to conflicting interests in our pursuit of the inclusion of Mt. Apo as UNESCO’s heritage site and global geological park,” Acosta said.
She added though that she is confident that the “composition of the technical working group and the mechanisms that we will put in place will see beyond geographical and political boundaries just like our Mt. Apo.”
“If we are to learn from other UNESCO heritage site’s success, inter-sectoral support and public cooperation are key to preserving those sites,” Acosta shared.
Kidapawan Mayor Atty. Jose Paolo Evangelista and Magpet Mayor Jay Laurence Gonzaga of North Cotabato, were among those who signified support to protecting and preserving the environment and the establishment of the MAWRCC.
“This event is very instrumental in boosting our capacities to solve distinct problems, particularly besetting Mt. Apo,” Evangelista said.
OIC-Mayor Michel Louise Gutierrez of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur was also present during the ceremonial signing of support of commitment.
Representatives from private partners such as the Hydro Electric Power Corporation of the Aboitiz company and Energy Development Corporation of the Lopez company have also expressed their full commitment to this effort of conserving and preserving Mt. Apo.
Mt. Apo, which stretches between the provinces of Cotabato, Davao del Sur and Davao City, is the highest peak of the country and is considered sacred by many of its original inhabitants.
It is established as protected area under the Natural Park category through Republic Act No. 9237.
The Mt. Apo National Park (MANP) reserve has been classified as part of the top ten endangered Priority Protected Areas due to its rich biodiversity and vulnerability to multiple threats. (PIA-XI, Carina L. Cayon/Photos by Loel Balangauan)