MANILA – Senator Cynthia Villar on Monday called for preservation of the country’s wetlands, saying these only occupied 6 percent of the earth’s surface.
Villar said wetlands play a major role in environment protection as these perform crucial functions like freshwater supply, habitat provision, and climate regulation.
In recognition of the wetlands’ importance, she said 172 countries have committed to the Ramsar Convention to protection wetlands globally.
As of 2023, Villar said there are about 2,500 recognized Wetlands of International Importance.
She said the Philippines proudly hosts eight of them and "one is our Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP).”
The country’s other wetlands listed in the Ramsar are Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu; Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro; Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Agusan del Sur; Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Sulu Sea; Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan; Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area in Negros Occidental; and Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetlands in Pampanga.
Villar said the world commemorates the 1971 signing of the Ramsar Convention, named after Ramsar, Iran where it took place, every Feb. 2.
"This global treaty aims to preserve wetlands and raise public awareness on their vital role in biodiversity, climate change mitigation, fresh water provision, and economic support,” Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment, said in a news release.
The LPPWP's Wetland Center Museum was inaugurated on Feb. 2, also the celebration of the World Wetlands Day 2024.
The museum will host an auditorium; departments of Energy, Natural Resources and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) offices; a coffee shop and a souvenir shop.
"The design of this Wetland Center was generously provided for free by our PAMB member, Architect Aaron Lecciones of the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCPW)," she added.
Villar said the presence of these Ramsar Sites in the Philippines has inspired her to establish the Wetland Center in LPPWP, the first in the country.
She said the Wetland Center intends to educate and to help raise public awareness on wetlands. (PNA)