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Trekkers pack up and scramble as a grassfire spreads towards them on Mt. Anggas in Gitagum, Misamis Oriental on Saturday night. The leader of the group estimates that the wildfire destroyed about seven thousand hectares of grassland along the boundaries of four Misamis Oriental towns. (screengrabbed with permission, from the “Becoming Filipino” Youtube channel of video blogger Kyle Jennermann)

Town to close Anggas

By NITZ ARANCON
Correspondent .

THE Gitagum town council would meet tomorrow over a move to close Mt. Anggas and call off Holy Week activities there as well as its formal launch as one of the municipality’s tourism destinations.

Councilor Nicole Velasco, chairperson of the Gitagum town council’s tourism committee, said members of the local legislature would meet over her proposal to declare the Barangay Gregorio Pelaez side of Mt. Anggas temporarily closed to the public, and to reschedule its formal opening as a major tourist spot in Gitagum.

Velasco’s proposal came in the wake of the grassfire that ravaged thousands of hectares of grassland along the boundaries of Gitagum, Alubijid, Libertad and Initao towns in Misamis Oriental, over the weekend.

Velasco said she would ask the town council to close the area under Gitagum’s territorial jurisdiction for two months “aron ma-heal ang damage sa maong bukid gikan sa  grassfire.”

Velasco said the grassfire adversely affected the town government’s tourism program.

“Apiktado gyud kay imbis among himo-on ang formal opening sa Holy Week,  dili na no-on madayon,” she said.

Gitagum Mayor Emmanuel Mugot said he wants the tourist destination closed to the public until the start of the wet season.

He said the town council should approve the proposal to temporarily close Mt. Anggas, saying that it’s not safe for mountaineering at this time because of the dry spell.

“Let’s wait for the rainy season before we open Mt. Anggas again,” said Mugot, adding that he was worried that another wildfire could break out and trap trekkers.

“Delikado kaayo,” Mugot said.

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