An OFFICIAL of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7) told the public to protect, preserve, and maintain the wetlands in the region as it is crucial in combating climate change.

Reginaldo Bueno, an Officer of the DENR Conservation and Development Division said in "Kapihan sa PIA" program on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, that wetlands provide protection as they serve a natural water impounding area and can be a source of food and water not only for humans but also for the animals.

He added that the world will be celebrating 'World Wetland Day' tomorrow, February 2, 2023, as a global awareness program to reverse the rapid loss and preservation of wetlands across the world. In Central Visayas, Bueno said that the agency has identified 56 inland wetlands and over 316 across the country.

He added that the agency has declared some wetlands as protected areas such as the Danao Lake in Camotes Island and Lake Lanao in Daanbantayan. One of the most recognized wetlands in the region is the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary which supports a large concentration of migratory birds and other wildlife in the country.

Bueno added that wetlands host a wide range of ecosystems such as wildlife and plants.

The Republic Act No. 11038 or "National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992" states that Wetlands involve a variety of inland habitats such as marshes, peatlands, floodplains, rivers, and lakes, and those in the coastal areas such as saltmarshes, mangroves, intertidal mudflats, and seagrass beds, and also coral reefs and including other marine areas that are no deeper than six meters at low, as well as it considers human-made wetlands such as dams, reservoirs, rice paddies, and wastewater treatment ponds and lagoons. (EHP)