Las Piñas – Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area
I. Establishment of the Area
By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1412 dated April 22, 2007, the Las Piňas – Paraňaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) was established. On January 31, 2008, it was amended by Presidential Proclamation 1412-A which directs all relevant departments and instrumentalities under the executive branch to ensure the preservation of existing mangrove, mudflats and ecosystems in the area that supports natural ecological functions. It also directs the DENR to convene and chair a Manila Bay Critical Habitat Management Council
It is located on the western side of the Aguinaldo Highway (Coastal Road) and is bounded on the north by the Paraňaque River and on the South by the Las Piňas River. It covers an area of 175 hectares consisting of mangroves, mudflats and diverse avifauna. It is the first Critical Habitat established in the country.
Figure 1. Aerial Photo of the Las Piňas – Paraňaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area
Its declaration as a critical habitat was based on the findings that it harbors a diverse species of birds both migratory and residents. At least 5,000 heads of birds were counted in 2004. Most significant is the presence in the area of at least 1% of the population of Greenshank and 10% of the population of Black-winged Stilt within the East Asian – Australasian Flyway.
The East Asian – Australasian Flyway (Source: IEMP Avifauna Component of MBEMP)
II. Legal Bases for the Existence of the Las Piñas – Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area
1. Proclamations 1412 and 1412-A
In April 22, 2007, Proclamation 1412 was issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo “Establishing a Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area within the Coastal Lagoon of Las Piñas and Parañaque”
In January 31, 2008, Proclamation 1412-A was issued amending Proclamation 1412. Among its salient features is a directive to all relevant departments and instrumentalities under the Executive Branch to cooperate and undertake steps within the scope of the Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, such as:
- Ensure that any reclamation in the periphery of the Las Piñas – Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area shall not impede the ecological function of the lagoon and its small island’s mangroves, salt marches and tidal areas as breeding, feeding and roosting place for marine and terrestrial wildlife.
- Undertake reclamation in nearby area in a way that would help restore and ensure shellfish and fish productivity
- Ensure existing mangrove, mudflats and ecosystems are preserved and/or not built over, and are kept in a condition that will support natural growth of indigenous and or naturally occurring wetland plants critical to the survival of wildlife and natural ecological functions.
- Ensure that biodiversity component is included and strengthened in all Environmental Impact Assessments for development projects.
- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall convene and Chair a Manila Bay Critical Habitat Management Council composed of the following:
- Philippine Reclamation Authority, whose representative shall act as Vice Chair of the Council
- NGOs with technical capacity and proven ecological biodiversity management capability and track record in the area
- Department of Tourism
- City Governments of Las Piñas and Parañaque
- People’s organizations with a direct stake in the area