Bacolod City, Philippines – Researchers and scientists on migratory birds convened for the Second East Asian Australasian Flyway Research and Development Congress, a three-day event which commenced yesterday morning, October 8, 2019 at the L’Fisher Hotel, Bacolod City.

In the keynote message of the DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, delivered by Undersecretary Jim O. Sampulna, he emphasized the importance of this international collaboration as impetus for the conservation of migratory waterbirds not only in the Philippines but for the entire EAAF area.

The Philippines as part of the EAAF is home to thousands of migratory birds, with seven sites designated as wetlands of international importance or Ramsar Sites along with 70 other wetlands that are important waterbird habitats.

The Secretary’s message mentioned the seven Ramsar Sites in the Philippines. One of these is the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (NOCWCA). It has a coastline with 109 kilometer stretch – serving as habitat to more than 72 waterbird species which includes the globally threatened Far Eastern Curlew and Nordmann’s Greenshank as well as the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. This site will be visited by the EAAF Congress participants on October 10, 2019.

Through the exchange of scientific updates and strengthened commitment during this R&D Congress, DENR is positive that the keepers of the EAAF could further safeguard the flyway in order to perpetuate the globally protected migratory birds and their wetland habitats.

The opening program was graced by government leaders of Negros Occidental, Ms. Charina Magallanes-Tan who represented Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Atty. John Orola who represented Bacolod City Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia. Other DENR executives who were part of the opening program include ERDB Director Dr. Sofio B. Quintana, Region VI’s Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr., and the Overall Congress Coordinator, Dr. Simplicia A. Pasicolan of ERDB.

The 2nd EAAF R&D Congress was organized by the DENR’s research arm – the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau to provide a forum for the exchange of scientific information, updates, concerns, and status relevant to the research and development on migratory waterbirds and wetlands within the EAAF. Foremost, this gathering aims to promote and pave the way for stronger commitment towards rehabilitation and restoration of wetlands. On this note, ERDB Director Sofio B. Quintana urged participants to “be proactively involved in the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the EAAF both at the global and local scales”. “Only when we discuss and converse with other researchers do we get to truly understand how we can help conserve migratory birds,” Quintana said.