Press Release
March 16, 2016

Villar: Protection of wetlands crucial to block effects of climate change

On the third anniversary of the designation of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area (LPPCHEA) as a Wetland of International Importance, Sen. Cynthia Villar cited wetlands' unique role in the effort to arrest the adverse effects of climate change on the wildlife.

"Wetlands should be protected and maintained so that it will continue to serve as feeding and stopover sites for migratory species anywhere in the world," Villar said.

LPPCHEA, a 175-hectare of mangrove forest and marine habitat in Manila Bay serves as sanctuary for 84 bird species, including migratory birds from as far as Siberia. It is also a home for the globally-threatened Philippine duck and Chinese egret. It also provides a spawning habitat for fishes.

It was included in the Ramsar Convention list of Wetlands of International Importance on March 15, 2013. The other Philippine sites in the Ramsar list are: the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan; the Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park in Sulu; the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary; the Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro; and the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu.

Villar, who has been advocating environmental protection, stressed that Ramsar has recognized LPPCHEA's global importance to biodiversity and the need to give it special protection from various threat, particularly, reclamation. LPPCHEA was declared as a critical habitat in 2007 by Presidential Proclamation No. 1412.

Villar also congratulated her partners in the effort to care for what is referred to as the only Ramsar site in an urban setting.

The lady senator specifically mentioned the students and residents of Las Pinas and Paranaque who hold weekly clean-up activities in the area.

Villar has been in the forefront of the protection and preservation of the critical habitat, hosting monthly clean-up, tree planting, and study tours in the area.

"We hope to develop LPPCHEA as a tourism destination so that we can have more support for its continued protection," she stressed.

LPPCHEA qualified as a Ramsar wetland of international importance because of its compliance with the Criteria numbers 2, 4, and 6 under Ramsar's "Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance", these are:

  • Criterion 2: it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.

  • Criterion 4: It supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.

  • Criterion 6: It regularly supports one percent of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.

Incidentally, former US Vice President Al Gore, founder of the Climate Reality Project, a non-profit organization involved in education and advocacy related to climate change, is in Manila for the 3-day Climate Reality Leadership Corps Philippines Training.

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