Senator Cynthia A. Villar led the ribbon cutting for the opening of the Wetlands Photo Exhibit jointly organized by DENR National Capital Region, the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCPW), and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) at the Wave Activity Center of the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) on Tuesday, 22 February 2022.
Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan welcomed guests to the photo exhibit which included Sen. Villar; ACB Executive Director, Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim; and members of the LPPWP Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).
Director Caancan also thanked representatives of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB), Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), civil society, and media organizations who attended the event. She said DENR National Capital Region and the LPPWP Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) appreciate their help in the promotion of LPPWP as a nature park and the protection of its rich flora and fauna resources.
“Wetland areas, like the LPPWP, are critically important ecosystems that contribute to, among others, biodiversity enrichment, climate mitigation and adaptation, resources renewal, and the ongoing cleanup and rehabilitation of Manila Bay”, Director Caancan said.
Sen. Villar served as the guest of honor and, in her speech, has urged the national government to take a more active role in protecting wetlands. The senator said that the country has, according to the 2016 Atlas of Philippine Inland Wetlands and Classified Caves, 314 inland wetlands, and 2,487 river systems.
Sen. Villar, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, also appealed for the continuation of the cleanup of Manila Bay even after the change in the administration. “We need to continue the Manila Bay cleanup, not Manila Bay reclamation”, Sen. Villar clarified.
Dr. Lim likewise underscored the importance of Manila Bay as a wetland area. Citing a study conducted by DENR, the TEEB Philippines (The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity in the Philippines), and the Resources, Environment, and Economics Center for Studies in 2014, Dr. Lim said that “the net benefits from the development of portions of the Manila Bay is greater if there is added ecosystem rehabilitation integrated into the plan”.
The photo exhibit features LPPWP and its history and development as a nature sanctuary. It also highlights the ecosystem services that LPPWP provides and the threats it currently faces, and what we can do to help in its protection and conservation.