February 2 of every year, the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. (SCPW) celebrates with the entire planet the World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 02 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year, World Wetlands Day is celebrated to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.
The Convention on Wetlands (also known as the Ramsar Convention), signed in Ramsar on 02 February 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
Sen. Cynthia A. Villar has rallied behind this year World Wetlands Celebration’s call to take action for wetlands and appeal to invest financial, human and political capital to save wetlands from disappearing and to restore those that have been degraded.
“In all candidness, this is no mean feat for a state like the Philippines to follow. With our country’s archipelagic nature, we have an abundant number of wetlands that call for much-needed attention,” said Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committed on Environment and Natural Resources.
During the celebration in Las Pinas Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) on Feb. 22, Villar also noted that the United Nations encourages the annual celebration to raise public consciousness on wetlands, which are critically important ecosystems contributing to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability and to economies.
She thanked the LPPWP- Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and its partners, the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCPW), the Asean Center for Biodiversity (ACB) and the Philippine Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, for their active participation in this event.
According to the senator, the 2016 Atlas of Philippine Inland Wetlands and Classified Caves has put the number at 314 inland wetlands and 2,487 river systems. Out of these, 314 wetlands are 221 lakes, 12 marshes and swamps, 9 peat lands, 39 water storage, and 31 ponds. However, she lamented that some people, even those in our government, do not fully recognize and appreciate the significance of wetlands. “And what is even worse is that there are even people within the DENR who should know the significance of wetlands, yet have chosen to be ignorant of it,” stressed Villar.
“This is just one of the sad realities we are confronted with in defending this piece of wetland and we have been through tougher times along the way,” added the senator who has been involved in the conservation of the wetland park for two decades now. “Apart from the destructive effect to the wetland park, one of the issues I wish to point out to EMB is that the 286-hectare Paranaque reclamation project will obstruct the free flow of water coming from Paranaque River, which is connected to the Las Pinas River in my hometown,” said Villar. She said this will trigger massive flooding in Las Pinas, Paranaque and nearby places in Cavite.
“LPPWP is a showcase of biodiversity conservation in Metro Manila and we envision it to be the premiere learning environment for urban wetlands in the Philippines as well. We are doing our best also to make it a model of sustainable eco-tourism at its best, while ensuring that its natural ecological attributes are not compromised.”
Image Sources: SCPW, Business Mirror, FB – Cynthia Villar
Sources: Business Mirror,