World Wetlands Day was also celebrated in Tawi-Tawi on 02 February 2006. The celebration was spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. (SCPW), through its former President, Mr. Filemon Romero, was one of the organizers and sponsors of the event. The Wetlands Caravan was simultaneously launched as part of the celebration of the World Wetlands Day. Several coastal communities in Tawi-Tawi joined in the celebration. more about Wetlands Caravan >>
Tawi-Tawi has been one focus of this celebration because it has one of the most important coastal wetlands in the Philippines because of its rich biodiversity and extensive mangrove, seagrass and coral reef ecosystems. However, this is also one of the most threatened wetlands due to destructive fishing activities, quarrying of corals, over-harvesting of mangrove forests, brought about by the increasing coastal population.
There were presentations on various topics such as the state of the Philippine environment; importance, values and benefits from wetlands, and what the youth can do to protect our wetlands. These aimed to mobilize the youth into action through undertaking activities towards wetlands conservation work. This information and dissemination campaigns were done in different schools in Bongao, Languyan and Sitangkai.
A quiz show and a poster making contest were also held as part of the celebration. The quiz bee aimed to test the knowledge acquired by the youth on wetlands, the Philippine environment and marine biodiversity. The poster making contest capped the final activity for the day, allowing the children to express their understanding of wetlands in artistic form.
To raise the awareness of the community on the values and benefits of wetlands, prominent environment management persons made themselves available for interview in radio programs of DXGD and Radio ng Bayan. PENRO Hadji Jonel Moh. Monel and Prof. Filemon G. Romero of WWF and SCPW explained on air the importance of wetlands and the rationale of the celebration.
– Reported by Dr. Filemon Romero