The Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetland (SPCW) has been declared as a Ramsar site or Wetland of International Importance.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Executive Director Paquito Moreno Jr. said SPCW is the eight Ramsar Site in the country and first in Central Luzon.
It covers more than 3,500 hectares of coastal waters and four barangays in Sasmuan town in Pampanga.
“We are honored and fortunate that the annual celebration of World Wetland Day has become more significant and special because the SPCW is now officially declared as Wetlands of International Importance,” he said.
He explained that SPCW met four of the nine criteria of Ramsar Site before it was considered as internationally important.
“We met criteria 2 and 3, which means that SPCW supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities, and play a big role in maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region,” he said.
Moreno added that SPCW also met criteria 5 and 6 indicating that SPCW regularly supports 20,000 or more water birds, and that it provides to one percent of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of water bird.
“SPCW is a vital component of our environment and its declaration as Ramsar site is an integral part of our strategies in cleaning and rehabilitating our Manila Bay,” he explained.
Pampanga Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Laudemir Salac disclosed that more than 80,000 migratory birds composed of 63 species have been observed in SPCW during the January 2021 Asian Waterbird Census.
Sasmuan Pampanga Coastal Wetland has been declared as a Ramsar site or Wetland of International Importance. (DENR Region 3)
“We really need to protect this important ecosystem because of numerous benefits to our local communities and to our biodiversity,” he said.
DENR record shows that Chinese egret, Spotted greenshank, Asian dowitcher, Philippine duck, Philippine fred tail and Grey backed-tailor bird are some of the species frequently visiting SPCW.
Study of Jansen in 2018 found out that 46 percent of the water bird species in the Philippines were observed in SPCW.
The 405-hectare Sasmuan Bangkung Malapad Critical Habitat and Eacotourism Area (SBMCHEA) is one of the valuable ecosystems found within the SPCW.
It is an important habitat to migratory birds and mangrove species including the Avicennia rumphiana or locally known as Api-api.
SBMCHEA, which is part of the large and enclosed sea of Manila Bay, is a mangrove islet in Pasak river that was formed by the volcanic sediments from the Mount Pinatubo’s devastating eruption in 1991.
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty of which the Philippines is a signatory. It provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
The Convention was adopted in the Iranian City of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.