COTABATO CITY – In a bid to formulate a legislation for the protection and preservation of the Sacred Mountain National Park in Marawi, Lanao del Sur, a team of environmental actors climbed the mountain on August 10, to conduct an assessment.
Composing the team were the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy’s (MENRE) provincial office in Lanao del Sur, representatives from the National Power Corporation -Watershed Management Division, Mindanao State University – College of Forestry and Environmental Studies (MSU-CFES), Marawi City and barangay local government units, and the Office of Member of Parliament Maisara Dandamun-Latiph.
The activity aimed to record the mountain’s vulnerabilities and establish policies for its development and conservation. The team also conducted a tree planting activity.
The 94-hectare Sacred Mountain National Park, dominated by the 900-foot Mount Mupo, is located in the barangays of Guimba and Papandayan. It was established as a national park on August 5, 1965 by the virtue of Republic Act No. 4190.
Provincial ENRE Officer Asmarie Labao said that the park needs an actual delineation considering the continuous encroachment of the community. “The remaining forest cover must be conserved and protected,” he said.
According to Labao, MSU-CFES Professor Mark Gregory confirmed the existence of exotic species like the African Tulip trees and Buyo Buyo plants, which may be harmful to the few native species remaining in the mountain.
“Although hindi pa siya ganoon kadami, it’s alarming na naka-abot na dito ang mga exotic species,” Labao said.
“With the help and assistance of the experts from MSU-CFES, we have now the initial data of the existing flora and fauna found at Mount Mupo, specially the endemic species we have and the presence of exotic species,” he added.
He also noted that the involvement of MP Latiph may be a way to have a new legislation reinforcing rehabilitation and reforestation programs for the park. (Bangsamoro Information Office)