On Regional Cave Committee’s (RCC) recent quarterly meeting, a couple of resolutions have been adopted and resolved by the members of this multi-stakeholder policy making body. This comprises resolutions enjoining the creation of Provincial Cave Committees and the Classification of several caves in Region-XI.
These caves include Pasanduganan cave and Vampire False cave in Davao del Norte (Class III), Kilabot cave in Davao de Oro classified (Class I), Cathedral cave in Davao City (Class III) as well as the Dats cave (Class II) and Fyingi Sol (Class III) caves in Davao del Sur.
The classification is based on DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2007-04 which defines Class I as caves with archeological findings and are for scientific and educational purposes only; Class II are those caverns with wildlife that cannot be disturbed and are open only to experienced cavers or guided educational tours/visits.; and Class III are caves where the whole part is allowed for spelunking provided that they are accompanied by cave guides and are appropriate for tourism purposes.
Among the functions of the DENR is to assess and determine the sustainable use, conservation, protection and management of the country’s caves, including the resources found therein. The process includes regular conduct of inventory, assessment and classification. In Davao Region, over a hundred of caverns have been assessed and classified already.
Further, and in aims of intensifying the information dissemination of caving activities in the Region, it was also resolved that Provincial Cave Committees be created. This is to actively respond to the growing need for cave tourism destinations by partly assuming the role of the RCC in the provincial level. It is since these provinces have caverns that dwell with world class physical features and are also observed as sustainably managed by the communities.
When it comes to biodiversity, caverns are vital as it indicate a healthy environment. In fact, DENR XI’s Conservation and Development Division emphasizes that caves play key roles in groundwater movement and serves as habitat for threatened and endangered animal species.