National Partnership meeting held in the Philippines

2015-05-27 17.01.02

Spike Millington, Chief Executive of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) visited the Republic of the Philippines from 23-28th May 2015. After participating in training of members for Haribon Foundation, the Birdlife Partner in Philippines, he met with Undersecretary Ignacio of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Roberto Oliva, Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Clarissa Arida and Sheila Vergara, also from ACB and Cristi Nozawa from BirdLife Asia. Spike provided a briefing on EAAFP, including updates from MOP8 and discussed future collaboration and potential support from Philippines to the EAAFP Secretariat. Director Oliva reviewed cooperation with ASEAN member states and the EAAFP South East Asia Network proposed at MOP8.

Spike then held meetings with staff from the Biodiversity Management Bureau of DENR, including the imminent confirmation of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park as an East Asian-Australasian Flyway Network Site, the nominations of Cabusao (Camarines Sur) and Sasmuan (Manila Bay) as future network sites. He encouraged expanding the proposed site boundaries to encompass all areas used by migratory waterbirds at the sites. An additional, very important shorebird site in Negros Occidental (e.g. for Nordmann’s Greenshank) is in the process of being proposed. Judit Szabo, EAAFP Science Officer visited this site last year.

2015-05-27 17.02.07

On 27th May, a preliminary national Partnership meeting, involving diverse stakeholders, was held at DENR offices. The report is as follows.

Report of National Partnership Meeting of East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership with Focus on Candaba and Manila Bay Issues

Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Training Center
May 27, 2015

The National Partnership meeting with EAAFP was conducted to talk about cooperation to protect migratory waterbirds and their habitats in Philippines, particularly regarding proposed and future Flyway Network Sites at Candaba Swamp and Manila Bay. The meeting had the following objectives:

To share information on the Partnership for EAAF and Flyway Site Network and propose cooperation with an EAAFP National Partnership for the Philippines;
To raise awareness on and discuss the conservation importance of Candaba Marsh for migratory waterbirds;
To discuss the status of Manila Bay as an important migratory site in terms of biodiversity, threats affecting the area, and current policies/programs to arrest threats.
Attendees include focal persons from EAAFP, BirdLife International, Biodiversity Management Bureau of DENR, Haribon Foundation, Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Wetlands International- Philippines, DENR Regions 3, 4a, and Las Piñas Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA).

For the program overview, Mr. Spike Millington presented about the activities of the EAAFP and the opportunities and threats at proposed FNS. Ms. Cristi Nozawa of BirdLife International discussed why partnership of different sectors is vital in the conservation of areas important to migratory birds.

Candaba Swamp

Mr. Arne Jensen of Wetlands International presented on the current issues being faced in the Candaba Swamp that threaten wild birds in the area: drainage of the site and reclamation. He also mentioned that large scale mangrove reforestation sometimes becomes a threat to coastal waterbirds when reforestation is done at the wrong site or if the wrong species are planted.

Ms. Minerva J. Martinez, Chief of Conservation Development Division Region 3 presented the profile of Candaba Swamp and the conservation efforts of the Local Government Units (LGUs).

Ms. Amy Lecciones from the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCPW) mentioned that they were supposed to have a wetland center at Candaba Swamp. However, the project did not push through as the landowner changed his mind. She also mentioned that portions of the swamp are getting more shallow due to the silt coming from Mt. Arayat.

Manila Bay

Mr. Rey Aguinaldo from DENR-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) updated that the highest bird count at Las Piñas Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) was 5,000 birds. The latest bird count only totaled 1,000. He commented that number of birds in the area is declining and this might be due to the reclamation activities and prolific development in the area.

Sharmaine June Ferrer from the Manila Bay Coastal Office (MBCO) Region 4A reported that they are currently conducting base lining/data gathering on mudflats and wetlands in Manila Bay areas in Region 4A. The species found within and various LGU interventions and private companies are included in the research. They are also establishing eco- tourism projects.

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