Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga hailed President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for setting the tone for his administration in terms of protecting the environment and fighting climate change, during his first 100 days in office.

“A very great advantage is the importance the President has given to the environment and to climate change as a threat not just to the country but globally,” Loyzaga told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) Wetland Center Complex in Las Piñas City on October 8.

Loyzaga said she was looking forward to the government and all other sectors working together to support the President in his efforts to address the most pressing environmental problems facing the country.

The environment chief also underscored the importance of a healthy environment to achieve sustainable growth and pointed out that “Environment is the key. Kung wala ang magandang environment, wala ang ekonomiya.”

Referring to the LPPCHEA event, she said such effort is one of the really groundbreaking and far reaching in terms of impact, in terms of making the environment part of the priorities for the development of our country.

Loyzaga was guest of honor at the inauguration, which was also attended by Senator Cynthia Villar and DENR National Capital Region (NCR) Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan.

The event coincided with this year’s celebration of World Migratory Bird Day, an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.

In her message, Loyzaga lauded Villar for her tireless efforts to preserve the wetlands and the establishment of the LPPCHEA management system.

Loyzaga said she hopes to visit other wetland areas and to cite what the senator has done in LPPCHEA as an example for the Philippine wetlands.

According to Loyzaga, the LPPCHEA is critical to the preservation of the biodiversity not only of the Philippines but as far as the entire East Asian-Australia region.

It serves and preserves migration along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway that are critical to the regional biodiversity and the support systems of Asia and Australia, she added.

Loyzaga said the protected wetlands in the area are the midpoints of the Philippines for migratory birds flying north to south and back, making them part of the country’s national responsibility and contributions to the global achievement of Sustainable Development Goal Nos. 14 and 15, or Life Below Water and Life on Land, respectively.

The Las Piñas-Parañaque ecosystem, she said, is valuable to the entire NCR as it is to the entire nation because of the region’s significance to national development.

The Wetland Center includes an audio-visual room, view tower, and boardwalks. It is part of the efforts of the DENR-NCR, Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, and Villar SIPAG Foundation to develop the area as a model of sustainably-managed urban wetland with biodiversity, and a prime ecotourism destination in Metro Manila.

World Migratory Bird Day is an annual awareness-raising campaign that underscores the need to protect and conserve not just the migratory birds but also their habitats and pitstops. ###