Press Release
March 14, 2015

Villar renews her call to protect LPPCHEA, leads clean up to celebrate its 2nd year in the Ramsar List

Senator Cythia A. Villar renewed her call to protect the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) as she led yesterday's clean-up activity in the area to observe the 2nd year of its inclusion in Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance on March 15.

She stressed that Ramsar's declaration should be coupled with responsibilities to protect it from anything that threatens to destroy it.

"That is our commitment not only to ourselves and our families but also to the various species that thrive in it like the birds, trees, mangroves and plants as well as the people who rely on it for their livelihood," Villar told hundreds of volunteers, which included students, government employees and those coming from the private sector who joined the senator in cleaning LPPCHEA along the shoreline of Manila Bay.

The senator said it was a very good news to them when LPPCHEA was included in Ramsar List two years ago.

She said it is also a great honor to be in the list together with the country's other famous natural attractions Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan, the Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park in Sulu, the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, the Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro, and the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu.

"Being included in the list is an additional proof on the importance of this area to our environment. Ramsar recognized LPPCHEA's global importance to biodiversity and the need to give it special protection from various threats," she said.

She related that one of the threats against LPPCHEA is the plan to reclaim it which she has been strongly fighting.

Ramsar also cited the cutting down of mangroves around the area and waste from nearby cities that accumulates along the coast as threats to LPPCHEA.

"So our regular coastal cleanups at LPPCHEA and special ones like today because we have an event are very important. Because of this, I am very thankful to our volunteers," said Villar.

Ramsar List was a result of the Convention on Wetlands. It started in Ramsar, Iran in 1971, in which the Philippines was a signatory.

This is a treaty of different governments that have committed to protect the so-called "ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance".

"Aside from its tourist appeal, the areas here also have its relevance like the 36-hectare mangrove that is the nesting ground of fishes in Manila Bay. They lay their eggs here. The fishes and the other shellfish/crustaceans provide livelihood to fishermen," she pointed out.

She further said LPPCHEA is also a bird sanctuary for both migratory and endemic birds, including the endangered Philippine ducks and Chinese egrets.

"We are lucky since we still have a natural haven like LPPCHEA despite the commercial developments. It is the only place of its kind in the urban setting so it is tagged as the 'last bastion' in Metro Manila.

On April 2007, Presidential Proclamation No. 1412 declared the LPPCHEA as a protected area because of its significant role in preserving and promoting biodiversity and sustainable ecological balance in Metro Manila.

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