BACOLOD CITY – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has ordered the temporary closure of major trekking destinations inside the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP) in the wake of insurgency-related clashes in nearby areas.
In Special Order 3 dated September 16 and posted on Facebook on Friday afternoon, Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer Joan Nathaniel Gerangaya, protected area superintendent of NNNP, said those temporarily closed are the ecotourism site destinations of Tinagong Dagat, Danao Sulfutara, and Tinagong Bato.
“(This is) in the interest of the service and in order to ensure the safety of visitors, trekkers, porters, and guides… due to the insurgency/armed conflict that took place in areas near the protected area,” he added.
On the other hand, minor trekking destinations will continue to operate and accept visitors.
These include the Mayana Peak in Barangay Prosperidad, San Carlos City; Malantan-og and Kawa Falls in Barangay Kumaliskis, Don Salvador Benedicto; and Malisbog, Dumalabdab, and Pulang Tubig Waterfalls in Barangay Patag, Silay City.
“This order takes effect immediately and shall remain enforced unless revoked and amended accordingly,” Gerangaya said.
With the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the DENR allowed the resumption of mountaineering activities in the NNNP in February as community quarantine restrictions started to ease.
The NNNP has three entry/exit points – Barangay Patag in Silay City; Sitio Campuestohan, Barangay Cabatangan in Talisay City; and Barangay Canlandog in Murcia town.
With the resumption of trekking activities earlier this year, only residents and foreigners legally residing in Negros Occidental have been allowed to trek for a fee of PHP300 per person.
On August 20, troops of the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion and the New People’s Army figured in a clash in remote Hacienda Raymunda in Barangay Kapitan Ramon, Silay City, where two communist terrorists and a soldier were killed. (PNA)