Senator Cynthia Villar led the coastal clean-up at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area (LPPCHEA), which was included in the Ramsar Convention list of Wetlands of International Importance.
Villar said the celebration of the National Clean-up Month (every September) intends to encourage massive mobilization of voluntary actions to support and participate in the country’s clean-up and environmental activities.
Aside from the cleaning operations at LPPCHEA, located on the stretch of Manila Bay in the cities of Las Pinas and Parañaque, the veteran lawmaker said there was also an appreciation walk in the area.
The seasoned lawmaker, chair of the Senate environment committee, said this 175-hectare mangrove forest and marine habitat serves as sanctuary for 84 bird species, including migratory birds from as far as Siberia. It is the breeding site of the vulnerable Philippine Duck and supports at least 1,000 of the remaining 100,000 remaining Black-Winged Stilts in the world.
Due to this, she cited the need to protect and preserve LPPCHEA, which has been threatened by reclamation projects and poor solid waste management until recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cancelled the environmental clearance certificate (ECC) for reclamation projects in the area.
“With these challenges out of the way, we can now proceed with the realization of our vision to develop LPPCHEA as a tourist and bird watching destination in Metro Manila,” said the lady senator.
“We don’t have to go out of Metro Manila for a place where we could commune with nature. Here is an internationally-recognized place where one can go bird-watching in a setting where diverse species of trees and mangrove thrive,” she added.
According to Villar, the latest activities at LPPCHEA were conducted in preparation for the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Convention of the Conservation and Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) (CMS COP12) to be held in the Philippines on October 22-28, 2017.
She said this will be the first time the COP, which will put emphasis on the vital services of migratory birds to the people such as being a source of food and medicine, as pollinators and seed dispensers and as pest control, will be convened in Asia.
The slogan for the conference is “Their Future is our Future- Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People,” links to the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty and hunger, improve health and education, combat climate change and protect oceans and forests.
The event will be attended by high-level dignitaries from more than 120 member-countries, observes from local government units, society, media and the private sector.
Some 600 volunteers from the following government agencies participated in celebrating the National Clean-Up Month. They are Villar SIPAG; LPPCHEA Management, DENR-NCR; DENR-NCR; Tourism Infrastructure And Enterprise Zone Authority; Biodiversity Management Bureau, DENR; Manila Bay Coordinating Office, DENR Office; National Solid Waste Management Commission; Department of Health National Capital Region Office; Department of Public Works and Highways; Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission; Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) – Las Pinas City; Metropolitan Manila Development Authority; Philippine Coast Guard (PCG); Philippine Coast Guard Auxilliary (PCGA) NCR – Luzon; Philippine Navy; Philippine Red Cross – Las Piñas Subchapter; PNP Maritime Group; CAVITEX – CARE (Cavitex Advocates for the Restoration of the Environment); Maynilad; Manila Bay SUNSET Partnership Program Incorporated; Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress (ASAP); Center for Environmental Concerns; Ecowaste Coalition; Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Mother Earth Foundation.