Marking a milestone for the year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran accepts the role to continue the sustainable protection, conservation and management of the rehabilitated Wetland No. 2, now known as the Boracay Wetland Conservation Park.

Located in Sitio Pinaungon, Brgy. Balabag, the more than seven-hectare wetland was rehabilitated for three and a half years by its adopter, the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) through the DENR’s Adopt-A-Wetland Program launched in 2018 by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

The program aimed to tap the support of the business sector to augment the government’s efforts in restoring the wetlands of Boracay Island.

The turn-over of the management of the Boracay Wetland Conservation Park from EDC to DENR was marked with the handover of the coffee table book, “Wildlife Treasures” from EDC represented by Anson M. Tagtag, Officer-In-Charge Chief, Caves, Wetlands and Other Ecosystems Division of the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) to Region 6 Executive Director Livino Duran.

“With this representation for the DENR as regional executive director of DENR Region 6, I hereby accept with much gratitude and great appreciation the restored Boracay Wetland No. 2 from the Energy Development Corporation today, February 2, 2022,” Duran said.

“Wetland No. 2 is one of the important wetland ecosystems in Boracay Island. As an ecotourism attraction, this will serve as a learning laboratory – an arboretum for environmental enthusiasts and environmental practitioners,” Duran added.

“Wetlands are critically vital ecosystems. They provide food, and freshwater and act as a natural defense against flooding. As the kidneys of the earth, they filter water through their vegetation and substrates. They help mitigate climate change and provide healing through their recreational uses. Wetlands are certainly not wastelands,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu who delivered his message via Zoom.

“This year’s World Wetlands Day theme: ‘Wetlands Action for People and Nature’ highlights the importance of concerted actions for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for the benefit of humanity, the environment and biodiversity. Our venue for this year’s celebration, the wetland of Boracay, is very much attuned to this theme,” Cimatu added.

On the other hand, Atty. Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr. , Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force Secretariat Head, in a message read by DENR Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Visayas Arleigh Adorable said “Boracay will not be an island paradise without these wetlands as they play a crucial role in the island’s whole ecosystem – from flood control to source of freshwater for the locals, a home of unique biodiversity. My gratitude to the adopters for heeding the call and the challenge to augment the government’s efforts during the rehab phase. ”

Former Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group (BIARMG) General Manager Natividad Y. Bernardino underscored the need for balance of toughness and compassion to carry on with the rehabilitation works for Boracay.

“The approach we took for wetland rehabilitation clearly demonstrates the power of collective action among the private sector, government and local communities for nature rehab,” she said. Bernardino is now Director of the BMB.

During the event, the other adopted wetlands in Boracay were presented in the segment Boracay Wetlands Milestones and Accomplishments by Christopher M. Camba, First Vice President for Corporate External Relations of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. for Wetland No. 4; Engr. Oliver Absalon, Water Supply Manager for Boracay Tubi Systems, Inc. for Wetland No. 6; and Rey Nelson Amparo, Team Lead for Boracay Wetland 8 Rehabilitation of JG Summit Olefins Corporation.

Despite the electric power interruption and heavy rains, the World Wetlands Day 2022 hybrid celebration was successfully conducted. Most of the attendees were present online via Zoom while some 50 to 60 were on-site adhering strictly to health and safety protocols.

The event highlighted the Philippine celebration of the World Wetlands Day 2022 on February 2, held in the rehabilitated wetland. The theme for this year’s World Wetlands Day celebration is “Wetland Actions for People and Nature.”

The event was hosed by Joyce A. Se of the BMB and SB Christian Gelito of Brgy. Manoc-manoc./DENR 6