To raise awareness on the role of wetlands as the “cradle of biodiversity,” Senator Cynthia A. Villar filed Senate Bill 124 or the National Wetlands Conservation bill during the opening of the 19th Congress.
Villar is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment.
Speaking before the participants of the 8th Wetland Link International–Asia Conference (8WLI-Asia) at the Villar SIPAG on July 28, Villar noted her proposed measure aims to guide all concerned national government agencies and local government units to adjust the policies consistent with wetland conservation and wise use.
She has also been pursuing the establishment of a substantial area of buffer zones on Manila Bay waters and fighting off reclamation to avert the destruction of Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park.
She acknowledged the Philippines still has much work to do to give our wetlands the care and support they deserve.
“With our country’s archipelagic nature, we have an abundant number of wetlands that call for much-needed attention,” Villar said.
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.
She also extolled of their own wetland in her hometown in Las Pinas City- the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park (LPPWP). Home to about 84 species of migratory and resident birds, like the endemic Philippine Duck and the Chinese Egret, and Black-winged Stilts, LPPWP was listed in the Ramsar Convention as Wetland of International Importance.
The senator also thanked the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, the DENR – NCR, the Ramsar Regional Center for East Asia, and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust UK for bringing the 8th Wetland Link International – Asia Conference to the Philippines, and more particularly for having it here in Las Pinas.