Legarda: Protect Migratory Birds Thru Protected Areas Conservation

May 12, 2018

In celebration of World Migratory Bird Day, Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call for greater protection of the country’s protected areas, especially wetlands that serve as temporary habitats of migratory birds.

“Wetlands are crucial to the survival and well-being of migratory birds, which are important in keeping a balanced ecosystem,” said Legarda.

There are currently seven sites in the Philippines designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites). These are Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), Naujan Lake National Park, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, and Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (NOCWCA).

“The loss of these critical habitats would also result in a decline in the population of migratory birds. This is another reason for us to strengthen conservation efforts of our protected areas,” said Legarda, principal author of the proposed Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (ENIPAS) Act.

Legarda said she hopes that the ENIPAS Bill, which was already approved by the bicameral conference committee, will be signed into law soon.

Once enacted, the ENIPAS Law will help conserve and protect representative samples of unique, rare and threatened species of plants and animals and habitat including cultural diversity, by declaring as national parks the remaining parcels of land under the NIPAS.

Moreover, local communities and other stakeholders will have the legal basis and incentive to participate in the management and protection of the areas.

“We need to protect our wetlands and other protected areas to also protect the species that reside, whether permanent or temporary, in these critical habitats. These protected areas are also crucial in our effort towards building resilience and adapting to climate change,” Legarda concluded.