BALANGA City, Bataan: Senator Cynthia Villar and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) on Thursday pushed for greater protection of wetlands and wildlife, underscoring their vital role in supporting human survival.
“Wetlands are among the world’s most productive environments. The protection of the environment also provides livelihood, such as [for instance], the preservation of mangroves causes the abundance of marine products,” Villar said.
The senator urged the preservation of wildlife for future generations. “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children,” she said.
Villar said the country needs more champions of the environment, such as the WBCP, to protect watersheds as habitat of birds.
The senator was a keynote speaker at the 10th Phillippine Bird Festival held in Balanga City from December 9 – 11, with delegates from Asian countries in attendance.
She also pushed for the inclusion of Balanga City Wetland and Nature Park in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, also known as Ramsar list.
Tortugas, a seaside village in Balanga, is the site of the nature and wetland park, along with the villages of Sibacan and Puerto Rivas. It is also designated as a bird watching site.
Gina Mapua, WBCP president, said there are 635 recorded species of birds in the country and more to be counted.
“Some 235 of this number are endemic in the country, meaning, they can only be found in the Philippines,” she said.
Tortugas as a wetland park recorded a 425 percent increase in tourist arrivals the past year, after the Department of Tourism included Balanga City in the list of bird-watching sites in the country.