Pampanga wetland named site of ‘international importance’
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The 3,667.31-hectare Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetland (SPCW) has been listed as a “wetland of international importance” under the Ramsar Convention standards, an official said on Wednesday.
Martha Rojas Urrego, secretary-general of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, signed the certificate confirming that the wetland became the eighth Ramsar site in the Philippines and the first in Central Luzon.
The Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources endorsed the status ahead of the World Wetlands Day on Feb. 2.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The convention was signed by 170 countries, including the Philippines.
Paquito Moreno, the DENR regional executive director, told the Inquirer that the SPCW met four of the nine criteria of a Ramsar site. “[It] supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities,” he said in a phone interview.
A wetland plays a big role in maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.
Citing the criteria set by Ramsar, Moreno said the SPCW regularly supported 20,000 or more water birds.
“If managed well, the designation of the Sasmuan coastland as a Ramsar site boosts ecotourism and would go a long way for the inclusive growth of the locality and its people,” he said. It would also support the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay, he said.
According to Gov. Dennis Pineda, the environmental protection that comes with the Ramsar designation will benefit the people in the province’s coastal communities.
Within the new Ramsar site is the 405-ha Sasmuan Bangkung Malapad Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, which is home to migratory birds and a variety of mangrove species.
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