DENR National Capital Region celebrated the 15th year anniversary of the declaration of the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) as critical habitat on Saturday, 23 April 2022 by holding an onsite mobile photography contest.
Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan led the opening ceremony. She reminded everyone in attendance of the importance of LPPWP not only to the coastal and marine ecosystem of Metro Manila but to the world as well.
“The designation of LPPWP, first as a critical habitat in 2007, then as a wetland of international significance by the Ramsar convention in 2013, and finally as a protected area under Republic Act No. 11038 or the "Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018’, is a testament to its ecological value”, Director Caancan stressed.
LPPWP was designated a ‘critical habitat’ on Earth Day, 22 April 2007, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1412. It is the first area to be declared as such in the country.
“Today, as we celebrate the 15th year anniversary of the designation of LPPWP as a critical habitat, we also celebrate Earth Day under the theme “Invest in Our Planet’”, Director Caancan explained. “And what better way to do so than to involve the young—our amateur mobile photography enthusiasts—in the protection of LPPWP and show how they, too, can invest in our planet, through photography”.
“We need the help of the youth in raising awareness on the state of our urban environment and of the world. Through mobile photography and social media, they can serve as DENR National Capital Region’s environmental ambassadors, as able partners in spreading the message and encouraging different sectors of our society to invest in our planet as well”, Director Caancan added.
Senator Cynthia A. Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change and a member of the LPPWP Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), agrees. In a recorded video message shown during the program, the senator said she is sure that the participants of the contest “will find a lot of subjects or inspiration for their pictures in our wetland. The migratory and endemic birds, mangrove forest, the native trees, the now pristine shoreline, and of course its corner of the Manila Bay teeming with fish now".
DENR National Capital Region OIC Assistant Regional Director for Management Services, Manuel Escasura, meanwhile said that it is important that LPPWP is protected and preserved, reputed as it is the last coastal frontier of Metro Manila.
Indeed, LPPWP is known widely as a bird sanctuary. Its extensive coastal lagoons, ponds, salt marsh, mudflats, and mangrove forests serve as a temporary pit stop for migratory birds using the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, the vulnerable Chinese Egret (𝘌𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘢 𝘦𝘶𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘴), Black-winged Stilt (𝘏𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘶𝘴 𝘩𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘶𝘴), and Pacific Golden Plover (𝘗𝘭𝘶𝘷𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘷𝘢) to name a few. It is also home to native and endemic wild birds like the Philippine Duck (𝘈𝘯𝘢𝘴 𝘭𝘶𝘻𝘰𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢), and other marine and terrestrial wildlife.
Mr. Richmond Chi, a Federation of Philippine Photographers, Inc. alumnus, also delivered a short lecture on photography techniques before the photo contest began. Attending the event are Michael Lu of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP); David Scheler of One Earth One Ocean Manila; Mark David de Guzman of One Pawikan; Antoinette Taus of CORA; Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines (WBPP); and Paranaque City College NSTP students.
The activity was led by the Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) and hosted by the Regional Strategic Communication and Initiatives Group (RSCIG). Judges from the LPPWP Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) Technical Working Committee, Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCPW), WBCP, and DENR National Capital Region will evaluate the submitted entries. 
Top 15 finalist will be recognized in an exhibit at the LPPWP on May 20, 2022.