As part of the global community advocating for the wise use of wetlands, the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc (SCPW) joined the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (BMB-DENR) in celebrating this year’s World Wetlands Day.
With the theme “Wetland and Climate Change”, a Media Wetland Exposure activity was conducted on 1-2 February 2019 in Candaba, Pampanga. The event was participated by 24 individuals coming from local and national media. The Local Government Unit of the Municipality of Candaba, Pampanga and Brgy. Paligui in Candaba Pampanga; local farmers, including the Macagatal Irrigators Association (MIA); Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Pampanga; and DENR Region III, also supported the activity. The activity was designed to increase the awareness and appreciation of some media practitioners on the importance of wetlands particularly as it relates to climate change.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated yearly every February 2. This day marks the signing of the Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention, in the Iranian City of Ramsar in the shores of the Caspian Sea on February 2, 1971 (Ramsar, 2016). Since the first World Wetlands Day in 1977, various institutions and organizations conduct activities advocating the conservations of wetlands, raising awareness of the public on the value and significance of wetlands through various activities around a theme.
The opening program of the Media Wetland Exposure event was held on 1 February 2019 at the Social Hall of DENR Region 3 Office in San Fernando, Pampanga. Mr. Arthur Salazar, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services welcomed the participants on behalf of Mr. Paquito Moreno, Jr. Regional Executive Direction of DENR Region 3. Ms. Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez, Director of BMB-DENR likewise addressed the event highlighting the theme of this year’s World Wetlands Day. Other speakers who discussed wetland-related topics are Ms. Joy Navarro of DENR-BMB and Ms. Minerva Martinez of DENR-Region 3. Ms. Cely de Leon of the Municipal Agriculture office of Candaba presented the local climate change action plan while Ms. Amy Lecciones discussed the ecological profile of the Paligui Wetland which is the field exposure site for the activity.
World Wetlands Day was celebrated on 2 February 2019 with a birding activity in the Paligui Wetlands, the Barangay that hosts the largest portion of wetlands in the municipality of Candaba. It is also the site for a project of the SCPW funded by the Ramsar Regional Center-East Asia that aims to transform this area as an agricultural wetland showcase. The participants started out to the rice paddies at dawn to experience carabao cart ride and enjoy the sights and sounds of the farm wetland. Aside from the thrill of identifying birds, the participants also had the opportunity to interact with some of the farmers of the Macagatal Irrigators Association (MIA), a farmer organization who owns the 132-hectare property.
This further enhanced their understanding of the how the farmers depend on the ecosystem services provided by these farm wetlands. The activity was concluded through a commitment setting exercise. This media exposure event is a milestone in the CEPA (Communication, Education, Participation and
Awareness) efforts of both the DENR-BMB and the SCPW. It is expected that those who attended the activity will have a more in-depth understanding of the importance of wetlands and that they can play a significant role in its conservation and wise use. (Darry Shel Estorba)