Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is hoping Filipinos will be more conscientious about the impact of migratory birds on the environment as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) along with volunteers nationwide wrap up its annual waterbird count this month. 
"Maintaining the ecological integrity and abundance of our coastal areas, offshore habitats, and inland wetlands is crucial for bird migration and beneficial to people. Let us make Filipinos aware of this to inspire them to take care of our environment as we in the DENR has always envisioned," Cimatu said.
In the past five years, 300,000 to 500,000 waterbirds have been recorded in over 150 wetland sites throughout the country. 
The Philippines is located mid-way of the East-Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) and serves as a wintering ground for migratory birds traversing from Alaska, Russian Far East to Japan, China, Southeast Asia and down to Australia and New Zealand. 
The EAAF is one of the nine major flyways in the world which migratory waterbirds cross annually to escape the harsh winter of the north.
Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) OIC Director Natividad Bernardino said that “the availability of intact and functional wetlands determines the ability of migratory birds to complete their migration cycle.”
"These migratory waterbirds rely on healthy wetlands which serve as their ‘staging site’ or temporary stop-over to rest and feed to build up sufficient energy for the next phase of their journey down south and back to their breeding ground in the northern hemisphere,” she said.
 "We, at the BMB, remain committed to our mandate in wetland conservation. We work hand in hand with our field counterparts and local government units in managing our wetlands. The results of the Asian Waterbird Census help us identify wetland sites for priority protection and management and set aside wetlands of national and international importance," she added.
 The Asian Waterbird Census is an annual event conducted during the second and third week of January. 
It is an integral part of the global waterbird monitoring program, the International Waterbird Census, and coordinated by Wetlands International. ###