By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Senator Cynthia A. Villar and “Together Ensemble Foundation” have agreed to work together to further maintain and preserve the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP), which was listed in the Ramsar Convention as Wetland of International Importance.
In her remarks during the “Meet and Greet” event between the LPPWP- Protected Area Management Board and French Ambassaor to the Philippines Michèle Baccoz and the Together Ensemble Foundation led by its President Hubert d’Aboville and Vice President Ramon Moreno, Villar said they are happy and honored that they visited and toured Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park, a protected area, which is located in her hometown in Las Piñas City and Parañaque City. She thanked the French ambassador and the Foundation for showing interest in putting up worthy projects at LPPWP that will augment their protection strategies in the area.
Ambassador Baccoz who described the Las Pinas Parañaque Wetland Park as a magnificent and fantastic nature protection initiative related that “we need to build one or more concrete actions next year to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Together Ensemble Foundation, which will be part of the calendar of the major events of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and France to be celebrated from July to December 2022.”
“Fifteen days ago, we mentioned the symbolic planting of 75,000 trees on the site to commemorate the 75th anniversary, or perhaps building a monument symbolizing Franco-Filipino cooperation to mark the two anniversaries. This meeting will allow us to further expound on these good ideas or even come up with new proposals,” added Ambassador Baccoz.
She also noted that the agricultural sector plays a major role in the development of France and the Philippines. “I am confident that we will able to build further on this through the ideas we will be keen to share as the basis for one or more events for the second half of next year,” the French ambassador also told Villar, who sits as chairperson of the Senate Agriculture and Food Committee and the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
Villar said they poured in time, resources, and continuously take pains to protect this sanctuary and make it as it is today. She said it is constantly exposed to threats, particularly reclamation.
She took potshots at entities unmindful of the environmental benefits of Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park, which she describes as a “valuable” piece of real estate.
“We are also opposing these reclamation projects on this side of Manila Bay because it will impede the free flow of water of the 6 rivers in the area- Paranaque River, Las Pinas river. The Zapote River, Molino River, Bacoor River and the Imus River. If that will happen along with the phenomenon of climate change, disastrous flooding will result in the vicinity in case of torrential rains and that will definitely cause suffering and misery to the two million people living in three cities,” warned Villar, who heads the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
Villar authored and passed in Congress Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded NPAS Act declaring the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park a legislated protected area, joining other 106 legislated protected areas in the country.
As one of their initiatives, they are setting an appropriate area of Manila Bay as buffer zone to add an extra layer of protection to Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park .
Along with DENR, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands and the Villar SIPAG Foundation that built the Visitors’ Center and the Wetland Center, the senator vowed to continue to take the forefront in fighting to protect the LPPWP , the last natural bastion in Metro Manila. (ai/mtvn)