Press Release
March 14, 2021

Sen. Villar reminds DENR to establish the buffer zone to provide better protection to the Las Piñas- Paranaque Wetland Park

Sen. Cynthia Villar is reminding DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu of the urgent need to set the buffer zone to provide better protection to the Las Piñas - Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPHEA), also more popularly known as the Las Piñas - Paranaque Wetland Park. She issued this reminder on the observance of the 8th year anniversary of the wetland's designation as the 6th Philippine Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on March 15.

The Ramsar Convention or the Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that recognizes the fundamental ecological value of wetlands and seeks, among others, to curb encroachment on and loss of wetlands now and in the future. The Philippine government, being as a signatory to the Convention, is obligated to conserve and protect the Ramsar-listed Philippine wetlands and their resources.

"To fulfill the government's obligations under the Ramsar Convention and maintain the protected area status of the wetland, DENR should be proactive to repel the impending threats confronting Las Piñas - Paranaque Wetland Park, including the reclamation projects in proximity to the wetland. As an initial necessary measure, a buffer zone surrounding the wetland should be established immediately and such buffer zone should be large enough to ensure that the wetland's ecological attributes and functions will be maintained and not be disrupted," Villar said.

The Las Piñas - Paranaque Wetland Park is a 182-hectare coastal wetland on the south of Manila Bay, encompassing two-interconnected islands that include lush mangrove forest, lagoons, mudflats, ponds and marine habitat. It serves as a sanctuary to around 82 bird species, including migratory birds using the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, with some coming from as far as Siberia. The wetland likewise functions as a significant spawning habitat of the fishes of Manila Bay.

First proclaimed as a critical habitat in 2007, the Las Piñas- Paranaque Wetland Park was included in the Ramsar list on March 15, 2013 as it has significantly supported vulnerable and endangered species, as well as threatened ecological communities in the area. It has joined the ranks of the other PH wetlands on the list, namely: the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu; the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Sulu; the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Agusan del Sur; the Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro; the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan; the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area; and the recent addition - the Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetland. There are now a total of eight (8) Ramsar-listed wetlands in the Philippines.

In 2018, the Las Piñas - Paranaque Wetland Park was given a protected area status under RA No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 2018. The said law provides, among others, that when necessary, the DENR Secretary may designate areas surrounding a protected area as buffer zones for the purpose of providing extra layer of protection to a protected area.

Sen. Villar, who has consistently stood up against reclamation in the area and in neighboring vicinities, encourages the establishment of the buffer zone and further conveyed that "it should serve as a necessary and an inevitable strategy to ensure better protection not only to the wetland itself, but also to the wildlife it supports, and the communities that rely on it, either for livelihood or for the protection it gives against disasters."

As the Chairperson of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, Sen. Villar has also filed bills espousing wetlands and wildlife protection and these are the Senate Bill (SB) No. 2036 or the National Wetlands Conservation Act and SB No. 2078 or the Revised Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2021.

News Latest News Feed