DENR National Capital Region Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan appealed to the public to value, manage, and restore wetlands ahead of the celebration of World Wetlands Day (WWD) on 02 February 2022.
Director Caancan made the statement during her interview in Eco Hour, a radio program aired over DZAR Sonshine Radio on Saturday, January 29, 2021.
“The theme of this year’s celebration –Wetlands Action for People and Nature – highlights the need for coordinated efforts in the conservation, wise use, and restoration of wetlands”, Director Caancan said.
“Metro Manilans, especially the youth, must learn to appreciate the life-supporting value of wetlands, and help in its management and restoration”, she added.
Wetlands, according to Director Caancan, offer multiple benefits and nature-based solutions to people. “They provide us with ecosystem services crucial to our survival and all of the flora and fauna supported by wetlands. Wetland areas are also one of our effective defenses against climate change”, she explained.
According to worldwetlands.org however, the world lost 85% of its wetlands since the 1700s. “Wetlands”, they add, “are disappearing three times faster than forests”.
“We need to reverse this alarming decline of natural wetlands”, Director Caancan said.
Here in Metro Manila, despite being highly urbanized, still managed to preserve some wetland areas. These are the La Mesa Watershed Reservation Area in Quezon City, Tagalag Eco Park in Valenzuela City, the Navotas Marine Tree Park (NMTP) in Navotas City, and the Las Pinas- Paranaque Wetland Park (LPPWP).
In line with the celebration of WWD, DENR National Capital Region conducted some Communication, Education, and Public Awareness (CEPA) activities to inform the public on how they can help in efforts to save our wetlands.
“We’re organizing coastal cleanups, ecotours, photo exhibits, and webinars to raise awareness on wetland conservation”, Director Caancan announced. These activities, she said, are open to the public but with certain limitations due to prevailing IATF protocols.
“As of the moment, we only allow groups of no more than 10 vaccinated volunteers to do cleanups or mangrove planting in NMTP or LPPWP”, Director Caancan clarified. Volunteers should also vow to adhere to strictly comply with minimum public health protocols to protect themselves and those they work with.
“The public, of course, can always participate in the webinars that we will be organizing in celebration of World Wetlands Day”, Director Caancan said.
WWD is celebrated by many countries around the world annually on February 2 to raise awareness on the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet.
The Philippines started formally celebrating the event in 1999, following the issuance of Presidential Proclamation No. 74 declaring February 2 of every year as National Wetlands Day in recognition of their immense importance to the welfare of the Filipino people and the protection of global biodiversity.