Villar leads ground breaking ceremony for wetland park
Senator Cynthia Villar led the ground breaking ceremony for the eco-tourism facilities of the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park.
The first to rise is the visitor’s center or the wetland wave, which will serve as the drop-off point and gathering area of people visiting the park. The construction of the entrance facility will be sponsored by Senators Manny and Cynthia Villar.
“We are now signaling the start of the construction of eco-tourism and conservation facilities of the soon-to-rise Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park. These structures will enhance the wetland’s natural landscape and will make our people’s visit more convenient and educational,” Villar said.
Villar said construction will be completed by October this year, in time for the holding of the 12th Session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS COP12). The Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Eco-Tourism Area (LPPCHEA), where the park will be built, is one of the sites to be visited by the CMS COP12 participants.
The development of the wetland park is designed by the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCPW) as patterned after the Hong Kong Wetland Park, a popular tourist attraction 20 minutes away from the Hong Kong International Airport.
A memorandum of agreement was signed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Villar SIPAG for the development of wetland park at LPPCHEA.
Under the agreement, DENR will allocate P10 million to build nature trails & boardwalk and the installation of water and electricity in the area and TIEZA will give P45 million for the construction of facilities such as the Wetland Center, birdhides, boardwalk and view towers.
LPPCHEA, a 175-hectare wetland ecosystem located south of Manila Bay, is a bird sanctuary of both endemic and migratory species. It is a known breeding area of Philippine ducks, a vulnerable specie as listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Chinese egret, Common greenshank, and Black-winged stilts are also found here along with 82 other wild bird species coming from as far as China, Japan and Siberia.
On March 15, 2013, LPPCHEA was recognized as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention for its critical role in the survival of threatened, restricted-range and congregatory bird species. One percent of the remaining black stilts can be found here, or 1,000 of the remaining 100,000 in the world.
Villar, chair of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources, said the ground breaking ceremony is also an early celebration of Earth Day (April 22) and the 10th anniversary of the establishment of LPPCHEA by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1412 on April 22, 2007. It was the first critical habitat to be declared in the country.
Villar partnered with the following organizations in this activity: LPPCHEA Management; DENR-NCR; SCPW; Cavitex Advocates for the Restoration of the Environment; Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress; Biodiversity Management Bureau, DENR; Manila Bay Coordinating Office; National Solid Waste Management Commission; Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission; Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) - Las Pinas City; Maynilad; Metropolitan Manila Development Authority; Philippine Coast Guard; Philippine Coast Guard Auxilliary (PCGA) NCR – Luzon; Philippine Navy; Philippine Red Cross – Las Piñas Subchapter; PNP Maritime Group; Manila Bay SUNSET Partnership Program Incorporated; Metro Pacific Investments Foundation (Shore It Up); Ministry of Ecology, Archdiocese of Manila; Ecowaste Coalition; Earth Island Institute; Mother Earth Foundation; Oceana Philippines; Save Freedom Island Movement; Wetlands International; Wild Bird Club of the Philippines; Divine Light Academy; and the Department of Education Schools Division of Las Pinas and Paranaque.