Press Release
February 8, 2021

Highlights of Senator Pia S. Cayetano's manifestation on the privilege speech of Senator Cynthia Villar on 'World Wetlands Day' and SBN 2036, the proposed 'National Wetlands Conservation Act'

Senator Pia S. Cayetano: I would just like to commend the senator from Las Pinas for bringing up this very important issue. And like the gentleman before me, the Minority Floor Leader from Iloilo, pointed out about the work he has done in Iloilo, this marries my two passions - the environment and cycling. When I went to Iloilo 3 years ago, there was like a five-day bike festival, and I was targeting this one event but I missed it, because I was only able to go there the next day, which was basically a bike tour that included stops in historic places and also in nature spots along the river.

So when you go along the river, they would either give you a local delicacy or they will perform a number that was performed along the river. So I missed that and I look forward to that after COVID.

But my point in mentioning that experience that I missed in Iloilo is to bring home something that her honor did mention in her speech, which was the fact that this is one of the sustainable development goals. And that is where my interest lies because I would really like to ensure that we tie up the whole picture.

Her honor mentions that she had her own personal experiences and concerns because, I know the work that she has done to preserve the marshlands there in Las Pinas, and then beyond that, she also mentioned that this is our source of water.

So very quickly, just looking at her honor's privilege speech, it already affects good health and wellbeing, because it's a source of water, it keeps the air clean, we know that when the ecosystem is alive and well, it also benefits people.

Next is SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) 6, which is Clean Water and Sanitation. I need not explain any further. And then Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), because when we preserve these areas, it also provides work and opportunities for people. Alam natin we are lagging behind in agriculture, but by preserving what is naturally there, we will be able to still give our fisherfolk and people who work in the land and on the water places to work.

And then, Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11). This is so important, because as the Minority Floor Leader pointed out, the heart of civilization revolved around the river. So many beautiful cities that we visit now, and what comes to my mind is Singapore, because I actually went on an official visit there in my first few years in the Senate, when I was chair of the Committee on Environment, and I was shown how their river used to be even dirtier than our Pasig river. And now, very expensive restaurants line those very rivers and they have a company called NEWater, and I believe it is government-owned, where you can even drink, they bottle it, we can drink the water that comes from the sewage.

Malakas ang loob ko and I would be the type to drink it because I trust their technology. So yan ang challenges natin. So as I said, that's Sustainable Development Goal 11.

And then SDG 13 is Climate Action. SDG 14 is Life Below Water. And finally, SDG 17, Partnerships for the Goals, where we encourage both private and public partners to join.

I have much more to say, but I really just want to express my support for this endeavor. I would also like to be made a co-author. In the referral, I would like to request that my committee, the Committee on SDGs, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, be secondarily referred to for not just the privilege speech, but the bill of our honor (Sen. Villar's SBN 2036, the proposed 'National Wetlands Conservation Act').

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