The Province of Cebu will be pushing for the declaration of Mt. Kapayas in Catmon, Cebu as a protected area following reports that some tourists who now visit the area pick wild plants indiscriminately.
In a tourism stakeholders meeting on Wednesday, December 9 in Catmon, participants raised concerns on the current craze in ornamental plants which resulted in the unusual spike of guests going to Mt. Kapayas and harvest some of the wild plants in the area.
Mt. Kapayas or Tore Peak is Cebu’s second highest peak and one of the key biodiversity areas in the Province.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she will be asking the Provincial Board to declare Mt. Kapayas as a protected area.
“Dunay suggestion si Mayor Irish nga from the Provincial Board ato gyud ni ipa-declare nga protected area and so I’m asking the Provincial Board members even as we coordinate with the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources),” Garcia said.
Garcia took note specifically on the harvesting and online selling of “bagiang or badyang” or the Giant Taro which is under the plant family of Biga or Elephant Ear.
“Specific ni kay dako kaayo ang interest aning badyang, daghan gyud kaayo. Now, is it illegal? Amo ning i-clear, it will be illegal kung protected area nga kuhaan aning badyang busa importante nga kaning Mt. Kapayas ma-preserve in its purity,” she said.
“Bagiang” is getting a wide interest among plant lovers after a showbiz personality posted on social media her collection of the wild plant.
For the locals, badyang is considered a grass that should be avoided because of its sap causes itchiness on the skin.
According to one of the participant, their local guides found it difficult to admonish these people because they are undermanned. They are seeking help from the police and the military for additional personnel.
For his part, Police Regional Office Chief Ronnie Montejo promised to act on the concern and met his counterparts in the province and the municipality after the meeting.
“All out ang support sa PNP in the whole region 7. Among nang tabangan ayaw mo og kabalaka,” Montejo said.
Central Command Task Group Cebu-Bohol-Siquijor Commander Col. Jerry Borja also promised full support on the matter. (Vanessa L. Almeda)