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Puerto Princesa Underground River now a protected wetland

- Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - July 21, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) has been included in the global list of “Wetlands of International Importance” under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, according to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, making the popular tourist destination a protected area.

The Ramsar Convention is an inter-governmental treaty of 162 countries aimed at international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Among the Philippine wetlands in the list is the Agusan Marsh, where “Lolong” – officially recognized as the world’s largest crocodile – was caught last year.

Paje on Thursday said he received a letter from Lew Young, senior regional advisor for Asia-Oceania of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, stating that the PPUR met the criteria and would soon be included in its official list. The approval was made at the 11th Meeting of the Conference of Parties of the Ramsar Convention in Bucharest, Romania from July 6 to 13.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was represented by undersecretary for field operations Demetrio Ignacio Jr.

Paje said being in the list of Ramsar designated sites would bring the PPUR increased publicity and prestige as an important global area of ecology, botany, zoology and hydrology critical for sustaining human life.

“The PPUR would also be entitled to various forms of support for its conservation and wise use, including information and expert advice on its management in accordance with internationally accepted standards,” Paje said.

He added that financial support may also be expected, possibly from the Convention’s assistance programs or through multilateral support agencies.

The DENR, through its Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, submitted the nomination of PPUR to the Ramsar Convention in Switzerland based on a resolution of the Puerto Princesa City government on Dec. 22, 2011.

It was only last April when PPUR was declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

The PPUR was also a declared National Geological Monument by the National Committee on Geological Sciences, and a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

AGUSAN MARSH AMONG THE PHILIPPINE ASIA-OCEANIA OF THE RAMSAR CONVENTION SECRETARIAT DEMETRIO IGNACIO JR. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY RAMON PAJE GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES LEW YOUNG MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF PARTIES OF THE RAMSAR CONVENTION PAJE RAMSAR CONVENTION
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