World Wetlands Day should be an occasion to discover the concrete functions and values of wetlands in the country and, if possible, in the planetary cycles of climate and water. This year, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in cooperation with the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. (SCPW) spearheaded the celebration.
A series of activities aimed at raising public awareness on wetland values and benefits in general, and the Ramsar Convention in particular.
Symposium on Wetland Management in the Philippines
The Symposium on Wetland Management in the Philippines, which aimed to increase the awareness of workers in sustainable development on the strategies being undertaken to manage wetlands in the country, was the centerpiece of the celebration. This was held on 02 February 2001 at the Visitors’ Center of the Ninoy Aquino Nature Center in Quezon City. The topics presented were:
- “LLDA-Community Partnership on Tadlac Lake Management“ – by Ms. Adelina Santos-Borja of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA)
- ” Determination of Water Fees for Fish Culture and Irrigation for Paoay Lake National Park” – by Ms. Rina Maria Rosales of the Resources, Environment and Economics Center for Studies (REECS)
- ” Conserving Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park and World Heritage Site” – by Mr. Manuel Mejia of the Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas (KKP) / WWF – Philippines
- ” The Coastal Environment Program“ – by Mr. Florendo Barangan of the Coastal Environment Program (CEP) of DENR-PAWB
Other activities followed immediately after the Symposium – the launching of the SCPW Home Page and the opening of the Photo and Book Exhibit. The event was graced by the presence of Mr. Victor O. Ramos, the former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, who inspired the organization to form the group of advocates into a Society. The organizations that participated in the exhibit were the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, the Laguna Lake Development Authority, the Bookmark, Inc., and the SDvillage.ph of the Philippine Sustainable Development Network Foundation, Inc.
During the cocktails sponsored by the CEP/PAWB, the wetland conservation advocates took advantage of the affair to socialize and further update each other on developments in wetland management.
Geological Upheavals and Wetland Wonders – A Research Forum
Another major event in the celebration was the holding of a Research Forum on Wetlands on 09 February 2001 at the Audio Visual Hall of the National Institute of Geological Sciences of the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. Dubbed as Geological Upheavals and Wetland Wonders in line with this year’s World Wetlands Day theme which is Wetland World – A World to Discover, the Forum was co-sponsored by the National Institute of Geological Sciences of the University of the Philippines.
Presented were the following research studies:
- “Origin of Philippine Lakes” by Dr. Ed Listanco and Dr. Carlos Arcilla of the National Institute of Geological Sciences
- “Subsidence in the Lingayen Gulf and Manila Bay” by Mr. Zenon Richard Mateo of the National Institute of Geological Sciences
- “Geochemistry, Sedimentology, and Malacology of Laguna Lake: Implications on Paleo-Environmental Changes” by Ms. Caroline Marie Jaraula of the National Institute of Geological Sciences
- “Decision Support System for Wetland Studies – Mangrove, Estuarine, and Lake Application” by Engr. Albert Nauta of Laguna Lake Development Authority
It was certainly an occasion for wetland conservation advocates to explore knowledge that would be promotive of effective wetland management in the country.