From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 18): Mt. Napulak closed to trekkers due to ‘heightened alert’ vs. NPA
Trekkers are temporarily prohibited from climbing Mount Napulak, a popular hiking destination in Igabaras, Iloilo.
In an interview Friday afternoon, Mayor Vicente Escorpion said their municipal police station and the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61st IB), which provide security to the town, are on “heightened alert” following the Aug. 15 encounter in Antique, where seven suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in a clash with government troops.
“The closure would ensure safety among the trekkers,” Escorpion said, adding that they also want to avoid confusion because some rebels might pretend to be trekkers.
The closure of Mount Napulak was recommended by its municipal tourism office and the 61st IB, he said.
Escorpion said he recognizes the mountainous town’s insurgency problem.
Earlier, the Iloilo Police Provincial Office named Igbaras as among 15 municipalities whose police stations are at “high risk” of being attacked by rebels.
Policemen were reminded not to leave their posts and be vigilant against possible attacks.
Escorpion is planning to conduct a meeting with the police and the army to discuss the closure of Mount Napulak, especially when it would reopen to locals and foreign climbers.
“We will analyze the situation,” he said.
An average of 50 trekkers flock to Mount Napulak during weekends, especially during summer.