Will Mount Hamiguitan Wildlife Sanctuary become UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon is optimistic that the Mountt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary will get recognized by UNESCO as among the world heritage sites. She told the media that a team from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is due to arrive in October this year to do a ground validation at Mt. Hamiguitan which has been declared by the national government as a protected area by virtue of Republic Act 9303 issued on July 30, 2004.

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Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary

Mount HamiguitanMalanyaon revealed that the provincial government submitted to UNESCO in 2008 its application for world heritage recognition of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary which hosts a pygmy forest of century-old trees growing at 3 feet to five feet tall. Malanyaon sees the latest interest of UNESCO to approve its application as a prospect of stepping up protection of the wildlife sanctuary in the Mt. Hamiguitan Ranges which stretches along the borders of Mati City and the municipalities of Governor Generoso and San Isidro.

The three local government units (LGUs) have bonded themselves together to organize a management and development council to oversee the protection and preservation of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary. Rising at 5,345 feet above sea level, the Mt. Hamiguitan Range serves as the home of the 600-hectare pygmy forest which treasures more than 800 species of flora and provides sanctuary to various fauna among which is the Philippine Eagle.

Mt. Hamiguitan also cradles the "Tinagong Dagat" (Hidden Sea) which is a lake observed with its unusual low tide and high tide periods. "We have more than what other world heritage sites have," Malanyaon said referring to various species of plants, insects, wild flowers and animals aside from the wide stretch of bonsai field.

Mount Hamiguitan Philippines
Mount Hamiguitan Philippines

On the other hand, 10th Infantry "Agila" Division commanding general, Brig. Gen. Ariel Bernardo revealed that his division will provide a security cover of the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary "so we can be hundred percent sure of its safety and security."

He said protecting the mountain range will form part of the tasks given to Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) team of military personnel to be sent on a community immersion in Governor Generoso.

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