In a fervent call to action, Senator Cynthia Villar emphasized the critical importance of wetland conservation in the Philippines, spotlighting the Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetlands among the nation's proudest natural treasures. Addressing the media on Monday, Villar highlighted the essential role that wetlands play in environmental protection, underscoring their pivotal functions in freshwater supply, habitat provision, and climate regulation.
Wetlands, which cover a mere 6 percent of the Earth's surface, are now under the global spotlight, thanks in part to the Ramsar Convention—an international treaty dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. With 172 countries on board, the convention has recognized approximately 2,500 Wetlands of International Importance worldwide.
The Philippines, a committed signatory to the Ramsar Convention, is home to eight of these esteemed sites. Among them is the Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetlands in Pampanga, a vital ecosystem that stands as a testament to the country's dedication to biodiversity and environmental stewardship.
Senator Villar, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment, underscored the significance of the 1971 Ramsar Convention, which is commemorated every February 2nd. This year's World Wetlands Day celebrations were marked by the inauguration of the Wetland Center Museum at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP), another of the country's Ramsar Sites. The center aims to serve as a hub for education and awareness, featuring an auditorium, government offices, and recreational facilities, all designed by Architect Aaron Lecciones, a member of the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCPW).
The establishment of the Wetland Center, the first of its kind in the Philippines, was inspired by the presence of Ramsar Sites within the country. It seeks to foster greater public understanding and appreciation for wetlands, highlighting their indispensable role in the ecosystem.
Senator Villar's advocacy for wetland preservation is a clarion call to all Filipinos to recognize and protect these natural assets. The Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetlands, along with the country's other Ramsar Sites, are not only crucial for environmental balance but also serve as a beacon of the Philippines' commitment to global conservation efforts.