Press Release
March 20, 2016

Villar promotes LPPCHEA as an eco-tourist's destination

Sen. Cynthia Villar said the country's only urban wetland and bird sanctuary should be promoted as an eco-tourism site that offers a more meaningful way of appreciating nature.

The Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area (LPPCHEA) is a 175- hectare nature reserve situated south of Manila Bay. It serves as sanctuary for 84 bird species, including migratory birds from as far as Siberia.

"Visitors can experience the emerging concept of 'voluntourism' at LPPCHEA, where they are encouraged to participate in volunteer activities such as cleanups, tree planting and watering, while appreciating the wonders of this site," Villar said.

Villar was leading a coastal cleanup, tree-watering, and nature appreciation walk at LPPCHEA to mark three important annual environmental events, namely the International Day of Forests (March 21), World Water Day (March 22), and the 3rd anniversary of the declaration of LPPCHEA as a Wetland of International Importance (March 15) by the Ramsar Convention.

"I encourage the youth to make use of their school break to experience eco-tourism at LPPCHEA. The public has to know that we have a place in Metro Manila where they can commune with nature and at the same time take part in activities for the conservation of this important habitat," she stressed. About 300 persons participated in the activity coming from the Bureau of Fire Protection - Las Piñas, Save Freedom Island Movement, Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress, Philippine Coast Guard.

LPPCHEA has 36 hectares of mangrove forest, the thickest and most diverse among the remaining mangrove areas in Manila Bay. There are at present 11 mangrove species growing in the area.

It is also known to host 82 species of wild birds, including the Philippine Ducks, Chinese Egret and the Black-Winged Stilts.

According to the Ramsar website, LPPCHEA "faces threats associated with being located near densely populated areas. Waste from nearby cities accumulates along the coast and heavy metals and other organic contents coming from residential and industrial effluents affect surrounding areas. Other threats include ongoing land reclamation projects and mangrove cutting."

Villar underscored the urgency of preserving wetlands such as LPPCHEA in the face of the larger threat of global warming, in order to arrest the adverse effects on migratory birds and marine species.

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

The Ramsar Convention recognized LPPCHEA's global importance to biodiversity as it provides refuge during adverse conditions. It is a declared critical habitat in 2007 by Presidential Proclamation No. 1412 and 1412-A.

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