After a two-year hiatus, the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) opened its grounds again to volunteers participating in the 37th staging of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) last Saturday, 17 September 2022.
According to LPPWP staff, some of the volunteers arrived as early as 5 in the morning, all of them apparently eager to do their share in what is dubbed the largest volunteer effort to address plastic pollution in our oceans.
“We’re all excited”, one volunteer quipped, as she and her friends made their way to the farther end of Freedom Island, one of the land masses that make up the LPPWP. “It’s been a long while since we’ve participated in a major cleanup and we can’t wait to work with other volunteers again”, she added.
They were welcomed to the LPPWP by Senator Cynthia A. Villar, Parañaque City Mayor Eric L. Olivarez, Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) OIC Director Natividad Y. Bernardino, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services, Engr. Ignacio R. Almira, Jr., CDD Chief Aida E. Esguerra, and Regional Executive Director and LPPWP Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) Chair, Jacqueline A. Caancan.
“We’re surprised ourselves actually with the response of the public to our call for volunteers for the ICC”, RED Caancan said. “We were swarmed with queries the moment we announced LPPWP is one of the eight ICC sites in Metro Manila this year that we have to limit the number of participants to ensure not only compliance with IATF protocols but in recognition as well of the status of LPPWP as a protected area”, she explained.
LPPWP is one of the two protected areas of Metro Manila under Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018. As such, entry and access to the area is strictly regulated, according to RED Caancan.
Just the same, RED Caancan was thankful for the positive response of the public, seeing the number of volunteers arrive and busy themselves picking, sorting, and recording trash on the shores of Freedom and Long Island for the ICC.
“It’s amazing how our volunteers remain unfazed with the somewhat drizzly morning weather caused by super typhoon Josie”, RED Caancan noted. The activity was led by the LPPWP Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) and DENR Metropolitan Environmental Office-South (MEO-South). They were assisted by officials and staff of the Office of the Regional Executive Director (ORED), and the Regional Strategic Communication and Initiatives Group (RSCIG).
The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) led the list of government organizations that participated. They were joined by volunteers from CENRO Parañaque, CENRO Las Piñas, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), and PNP Maritime-Parañaque. Non-government organizations, meanwhile, were represented by Bayanihan para sa Kalikasan, CORA Philippines, Eagles, Let’s Do it World, Manuyo Dos Parents Leaders, and One Earth One Ocean.on, ShipServe, Petron Corporation, UMYAF, and Watsons. Several schools were also present, led by volunteers from the Chinese International School Manila, National University (NU), Olivares College, and Philippine Merchant Marine School (PMMS). Non-government organizations, meanwhile, were represented by Bayanihan para sa Kalikasan, CORA Philippines, Eagles, Let’s Do it World, Manuyo Dos Parents Leaders, One Earth One Ocean, and Pasay-Parañaque Medical Society.
Overall, the ICC in LPPWP was a success.