Press Release
October 9, 2020

Villar stresses value of wetland park as bird sanctuary

Sen. Cynthia Villar stressed anew the importance of wetlands in providing wildlife habitats, including as sanctuary of migratory birds.

On the occasion of the World Migratory Bird Day, Villar said the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park (LPWP) located South of Manila Bay, has served as resting and feeding grounds for migratory birds coming from Japan, China, and Siberia.

"Wetlands have a unique characteristic and serve a lot of functions that is why these areas are protected and preserved," Villar said.

Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, authored Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas Act or E-NIPAS Act, which lists the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park as a protected area.

The park is a 175- hectare nature reserve providing sanctuary to 82 species of wild bird including Philippine ducks, Chinese egret, and the Black-winged stilts.

It 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 the spawning ground of fishes in Manila Bay supporting the livelihood of 300,000 fisherfolk in Manila Bay.

The Ramsar Convention recognizes Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park's global importance to biodiversity that it declared the park as a Wetland of International Importance along with six other sites in the Philippines, namely; 1.the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan; 2. the Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park in Sulu; 3. the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Agusan del Sur; 4. the Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro; 5. the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu; and 6. the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area in Negros Occidental.

Villar also underscored the urgency of preserving the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park in the face of plans to reclaim Manila Bay.

"There are reclamation projects that plan to build on the buffer zones of the park. We are vigorously opposing this because buffer zones should not be touched in order to preserve the landscape where the wetland now thrives," Villar said.

The senator has expressed her opposition to the plan of Bacoor and Paranaque local governments to reclaim 320 hectares and 287 hectares, respectively, in portions of Manila Bay which are delineated as buffer zones of Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park.

The World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated twice this year--May 9 and October 10. With the theme "Birds Connect Our World," this year's celebration aims to highlight the importance of conserving and restoring the ecological connectivity and integrity of ecosystems that support the natural movements of migratory birds.

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