File photo of Great Crested and Sooty Terns on Bird Islet by Teri Aquino through 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Roy Cimatu is pushing for an international partnership with the East Asian-Australian Flyway (EAAF) for the conservation of migratory waterbirds that would include those found in two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Palawan.

In a news report by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Cimatu said their collaboration with EAAF on migratory waterbirds is important to propel serious conservation.

“The Philippines, as part of the EAAF (East Asian-Australian Flyway), believes in the importance of international collaboration as an impetus for the conservation of migratory birds,” the PNA quoted Cimatu during a message delivered for him in Bacolod by Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Jim Sampulna.

The speech was delivered by Sapulna on Tuesday during the 2nd EAAF Congress on Research and Development for Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds.

The migratory waterbirds in Palawan are in Tubattaha Reefs Natural Park in Cagayancillo town and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Natural Park in Barangay Cabayugan.

Cimatu noted that it is vital for countries to come together as a single body for a  flyway-wide collaboration to ensure the protection of migratory birds that endure harsh weather and predation to travel thousands of miles.

He added that as climate change plays a key role in bird migration, catastrophic events can modify the habitats of migratory waterbirds and eventually affect the biodiversity.

“Because of climate change, it is really hard to avoid its numerous impacts on birds and bird migration. We can reduce and accommodate some of its effects by modifying our approaches to wildlife conservation and natural resources management amid the challenges posed by climate change,” the PNA further quoted him.

The EAAF supports migratory birds in their migration. It is home to more than 50 million waterbirds from more than 250 different populations, including 32 globally threatened species and 19 near-threatened species.

The Philippines, which has seven sites designated as wetlands of international importance or Ramsar sites, is habitat to thousands of migratory birds from more than 80 species, which visit the country every year.

Cimatu said that more than 70 other wetlands of international importance in the country continuously serve as a haven to more than 300,000 birds during the southward bird migration season.

The six other sites in the country that have been declared as “wetlands of international importance” are the Tubattaha Reefs Natural Park and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Natural Park, both in Palawan; Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Agusan del Norte; Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro; Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu; and Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area. (PNA)

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