The Philippines filed “National Wetlands Conservation Act’ on 2021 World Wetlands Day

Tufted Ducks in flight © Djop Tabaranza MBCFI WBPP

As a Contracting Party of the Ramsar Convention, the Philippines has committed to conserve and promote the wise use of wetlands. On the occasion of 2021 World Wetland Day (WWD), Senator Cynthia A. Villa, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, announced a new National Wetlands Conservation Act to foster wetland protection to national policy.

Although the topic of conserving Wetlands is not relatively new for the Philippines, the idea has been blended among other environmental laws such as Forestry Code, Philippine Fisheries Code and Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. Until now the Philippines has not amended single legislation that specifically focuses on wetlands. As the Senator recognized the limitations on wetland protection and the importance of increasing awareness on wetlands, she highlighted the need to adopt wetland related policies at a national scale.

The proposed bill aims to align all concerned national government agencies and local government to regulate its policy, plan, and programs accordingly to the wise use and conservation of wetlands in the Philippines. Most importantly, the bill focuses to expand the efforts performed at a local level to a national, all-encompassing scale that will include all wetlands despite its international importance.

The Senator stressed the significance to raise awareness on wetlands. Wetlands are vital for human survival due to the range of ecosystem services they provide, from supplying food and resources such as rice, fish, and freshwater. Most importantly, well-managed wetlands will help adapt and mitigate climate change and its unprecedented natural disasters. Thus, the proposed bill calls for securing, “protection, conservation and the wise use of all wetlands for the present and future generations.”

The Senator continues to pledge commitment to conserving the biodiversity in the Philippines. Furthermore, Senator continues to look forward to educating the general public, focusing to communicate dialogue on the importance and value of wetlands for nature and people’s livelihood.

The Republic of the Philippines has been a long-standing member of EAAFP since 2006. Until now (as of February 2021) the Philippines has designated four Flyway Network Sites (FNS) in EAAFP. In total, the Philippines has seven wetlands nominated as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. The following includes; Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (EAAF007), Naujan Lake National park (EAAF062), Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (EAAF123), Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, and Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (EAAF135) and Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetlands.

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Check the Flyway Network Sites in the Philippines:

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