UPLB wildlife researcher dies while trekking at Mt. Apo
MANILA, Philippines — A wildlife researcher from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) has died while trekking at Mt. Apo, the Kidapawan City Tourism Office confirmed Monday.
In a phone interview with INQUIRER.net, City Tourism Officer Joey Recimilla identified the victim as 27-year-old James Alvarez, a graduate student from UPLB taking up masters in wildlife study. Alvarez died last Saturday night.
According to Recimilla, Alvarez was with three other researchers from UPLB and another one from the University of Southern Mindanao to conduct a wildlife study at Mt. Apo. The group was also accompanied by two mountain guides and two porters.
The output of the study, Recimilla noted, will be used for planning and other policy making efforts of the Mount Apo Protected Area Management Board.
But the city tourism officer said the cause of Alvarez’s death is still undetermined.
“Ang mga experienced diyan, ng mga veteran climbers ng Mt. Apo, pag extreme weather conditions: umuulan, zero visibility, masyadong malamig. So apektado talaga ‘yung physical well-being ng tao. Very extreme conditions ‘yan,” Recimilla noted.
He said the research group requested for rescue on Saturday informing as members reported Alvarez’s situation. Recimilla, however, did not expound on the exact situation of Alvarez that necessitated a rescue.
According to Recimilla, members of the Kidapawan City Local Government Unit and local Red Cross responded upon receiving the information and were assisted by local mountain guides and porters in carrying out the rescue mission.
But due to extreme weather conditions, the rescuers had a difficult time to reach the location of the group, he added.
“Extreme ang kondisyon nung panahon na ‘yun, nung araw na ‘yon, umuulan buong gabi, buong araw dun sa bundok. So, tubig, lahat ng mga problema ‘pag ganon ‘yung sitwasyon no, so umakyat ‘yung rescue team, kaya lang hindi na naabutan talaga, bumigay na rin ‘yung biktima,” Recimilla said.
Alvarez’s body currently lies at Torreda Funeral Homes in Kidapawan City.
It will be transported to Manila on Tuesday and then to Batangas, where the victim resided, Recimilla noted. /kga
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