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Villar shows foreign delegates Metro Manila’s migratory bird sanctuary

On the sidelines of the biggest international convention on wildlife, Sen. Cynthia Villar personally toured foreign delegates at Metro Manila’s lone migratory bird sanctuary.

Delegates to the 12th Session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals or CMS-COP12 were treated to a tour and birding activity at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park in Manila Bay.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, presented to the delegates the conservation efforts at the wetland park, including the facilities that now make visiting the park more convenient.

“What we have done is a good working example of how biodiversity protection and conservation of landscapes/seascapes can help communities protect their source of livelihood as well as secure homes from the threat of massive flooding and typhoon surge,” she added.

A visitors’ area built through the Villar family, is now in place. It serves as a drop-off point and gathering area of people visiting the park.

In partnership with the Department of Tourism, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Biodiversity Management Bureau, park facilities such as museum, training center, board walk and bird hides will soon be built.

“We envision it to be the premiere learning environment for urban wetlands in the Philippines. We are doing our best also to make it a model of sustainable eco-tourism and a living model of environment that will encourage people to be more aware and involved in the protection of migratory species and critical habitats,” Villar said.

The wetland park sits on the 175-hectare Las Pinas- Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA). It has 35 hectares of mangrove forest. It is a sanctuary to 82 migratory bird species from as far as Siberia. It is also home to three endangered or vulnerable bird species--the Black-Winged Stilt, the Chinese Egrets and the Philippine Duck. Their presence at LPPCHEA was also among the reasons that prompted the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 2013 to include LPPCHEA in its list of Wetlands of International Importance.

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