MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday, 24 January said it is now preparing criminal charges against those responsible for the fire that destroyed more than 5 hectares of grassland near the summit of Mount Pulag.
“The DENR recognizes the impact the fire had on the national park and we will pursue all legal avenues to bring those responsible to account,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said in a statement. According to the DENR, initial investigation revealed that the fire was ignited by an explosion from a butane gas stove “brought by a group of hikers from Cebu.”
DENR-Cordillera Administrative Region Director Ralph Pablo said 7 mountaineers led by a certain Kristomar Mackay could face criminal charges for violation of the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 and the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines. The DENR said the fire damaged more than 5 hectares of grassland stretching from the Saddle Camp Site to the ridge slopes at the northeastern part of the summit.