Press Release
July 25, 2018

Cynthia Villar leads tree planting for Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday

Green warriors led by environment advocate Sen. Cynthia A. Villar have bonded together for a tree planting activity at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park in celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, was the guest of honor of the event, which was organized by United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila to commemorate the 100th birthday of the late South Africa president Nelson Mandela.

'Let us all continue to work together to bring back ecological balance, which has been severely affected by climate change caused by man's abuse of our natural resources. Activities like this encourages the public to stop their environmental negligence and do something to bring back the grandeur of Mother Nature,' Villar said.

Villar also said: 'We should all learn to care for our environment. The damages made on our natural resources have been been very costly, as we have all recently experienced when floods inundated our streets due to incessant strong rains.'

Over 500 participants joined Villar in the tree planting activity, including Ambassador of South Africa in Manila Marthinus Nicholaas Slabber, Carlito P. Castaneda of the DENR's Protected Areas Management and Biodiversity section, and actress Antoinette Taus, founder of Planet CORA foundation.

The volunteers planted 100 trees in the Las Pinas - Paranaque Wetland Park grounds in the activity dubbed as '100 Trees for Nelson Mandela's 100th Birthday.'

The United Nations marks July 18 of every year as Nelson Mandela International Day to remember his legacy as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

Last year, UNIC Manila conducted a cleanup drive at Las Pinas - Paranaque Wetland Park, and picked it as its focus venue for its future environmental actvities. The Las Pinas - Paranaque Wetland Park was declared as the country's first critical habitat in 2007. It covers around 175 hectares of wetland ecosystem and consists of two islands--Freedom Island and Long Island--with mangroves, ponds and lagoons, mudflats, salt marshes, and mixed beach forest all over.

On March 15, 2013 Las Pinas - Paranaque Wetland Park was recognized as a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention because of the critical role it plays in the survival of threatened, restricted-range and congregatory bird species. It is the sixth Ramsar Site in the country to date.

The park was also declared a protected area under Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (E-NIPAS) Act, which was signed into law by President Duterte on June 22, 2018.

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