KAYAPA, Nueva Vizcaya, August 9 (PIA) – Barangay officials of Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet provinces, along with their local tourism representatives, are set to meet this month to address issues and concerns regarding the protection and promotion of Mt. Ugo, an emerging attraction for mountaineering enthusiasts and tourists.
The summit of Mt. Ugo is located between the boundary of Itogon, Benguet and Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, a favorite destination of mountaineers using the routes from barangay Tinongdan in Itogon town or through barangay Kayapa Central in Kayapa town.
“Above other issues, this meeting will positively lead to the crafting of a management plan for Mt. Ugo as climbing attraction for both local and foreign mountain hikers,” said Genaro Basilio, Jr., Community Affairs Officer of the Nueva Vizcaya provincial government.
He said based on police records, an average of 5,000 mountaineers climb Mt. Ugo each year, bringing income for the local government units concerned at P50.00 per person as entrance fee.
Basilio said former Nueva Vizcaya Governor Ruth Padilla along with Kayapa town mayor Paul Ligmayo learned the growing number of local and foreign tourists.
“The problem here is that there are no guides and uniform amount of standard fees to be collected by local government units," he said.
Basilio said barangay Tinongdan for instance have recorded the same number of visitors climbing Mt. Ugo, regularly complying with its management scheme and policy of exacting fees including the provision of paid guides for the hikers passing within their jurisdiction.
He said that Itogon town councilor Norberto Pacio, in a preliminary dialogue bared that they have already made the Mt. Ugo management policy when he was then the barangay captain of Tinongdan but they experienced lapses when he left the office.
The preliminary dialogue, Basilio said was attended by Pacio and Nueva Vizcaya team composed of Sharen Bonayon, Tourism Operations Officer I and Robert Corpuz, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.
Officials of the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Tourism Office also said that climbers coming from Kayapa town register with the Philippine National Police Office and are charged P50.00 each but as soon as they pass through Sitio Dimolpos of barangay Tinongdan at the foot of the summit, they are forced to pay additional fees without receipts.
Climbers also reported that at the summit of the mountain where a Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya cadastral boundary marker is mounted on the ground, another marker has been put up bearing “Mt. Ugo – Itogon, Benguet”.
“This is misleading hikers that the summit is within the territory of the said town. These are some of the issues to be discussed in the upcoming meeting this month,” Basilio said. (ALM/BME/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya)