Employees of the Philippine Senate are the latest addition to the rising number of volunteers who are coming to the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area (LPPCHEA) in Manila Bay to conduct coastal clean up activities.
In a memorandum to the Senate's heads of offices, Secretary Lutgardo Barbo encourages the participation of 100 employees to the coastal clean-up and migratory birds protection briefing by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at LPPCHEA.
"I am so pleased to know that my co-workers in the Senate are now part of our efforts to clean up and conserve this very important habitat. I guess many of them just found out that a natural wonder exists very near the Senate building," Villar said.
LPPCHEA is a 175-hectare nature reserve located south of Manila Bay. It has 35 hectares of mangrove forest and provides sanctuary to 82 wild bird species from as far as China, Japan and Siberia. It is also home to three endangered or vulnerable bird species--the Black-Winged Stilt, the Chinese Egrets and the Philippine Duck.
On March 15, 2013, LPPCHEA was recognized as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention in recognition of its significant role as a resting and refueling stop for birds using the East Asian-Australasian Migratory Flyway.
It is one of the seven sites listed as such in the Philippines, but the only one situated in an urban setting. The other Ramsar sites are: 1. the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan; 2. the Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park in Sulu; 3. the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Agusan del Sur; 4. the Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro; 5. the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu; and 6. the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area in Negros Occidental.
Villar, chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said "LPPCHEA is a nature lover's destination in Metro Manila, which can be developed as an alternative destination to shopping malls and other airconditioned structures around the metropolis."
Villar has been leading the efforts to protect the wetland park by initiating a petition along with Las Pinas and Paranaque residents, for a Writ of Kalikasan before the Supreme Court. The lady senator also conducts regular clean up and tree planting activities with students, residents, private and government organizations.
To make visiting LPPCHEA more convenient to the public, the Villar Family constructed a Visitors' Area to serve as drop-off and gathering area. The DENR has also constructed bird hides and a board walk to allow visitors to fully appreciate the flora and fauna without disturbing the surrounding wild life.
Source: Senate of the Philippines