September 23, 2023

About 3,300 waterfowls were counted at the Magat Maris Dam wetlands during the conduct of annual waterfowl census (AWC) from Jan. 4 to 19, a 100 percent increase from last year’s count.
The AWC is a citizen-science program that focuses on monitoring the status of water birds and wetlands. It also aims to increase public awareness on issues related to wetland and water bird conservation worldwide.
The census is conducted annually every January.
The counted waterfowls included 11,490 egrets; 1,536 Philippine ducks; 269 gray herons; two purple herons, and 415 tufted ducks.
This means that the Magat-Maris wetlands is still a stable ecosystem that can support the migratory birds, leading the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the conclusion that the Magat-Maris Wetlands have improved in terms of water quality, forest cover, and vigilance in policy implementation.
This year, Team Lakay, the most decorated MMA team in the Philippines, joined other stakeholders in the activity held in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao.
Team Lakay Coach Marquez Sangiao said they joined the 2020 AWC not just because they are among the stakeholders in the management and protection of the Magat-Maris Wetlands, but also they are advocates of environmental and natural resources protection and conservation.
Sangiao said Team Lakay promotes sports tourism, which refers to traveling to places while watching and/or participating in sports events.
He said tourists come to the Team Lakay gym when in La Trinidad and other municipalities in Benguet to enjoy its sites.
Sangiao added his team will always support environment programs for the welfare of the younger generations.
The DENR-CAR, through its Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Section headed by Senior Ecosystems and Management Specialist Linda Claire I. Pawid, led the AWC and tree planting.
Other participating stakeholders were the Alfonso Lista police, National Irrigation Administration- Alfonso Lista Pump Irrigation Project, SN-Aboitiz, municipal government of Alfonso Lista headed by Mayor Edralin B. Alipio, municipal government of Aguinaldo; barangay governments of Namnama and Namillangan in Alfonso Lista; Provincial ENR office of Ifugao, Community ENRO of Alfonso Lista; and the Climate Change Action Group of Baguio City.
Magat-Maris Wetlands are permanent migratory bird monitoring sites in the Cordillera monitored by Wetlands International as source of data on status of migratory birds along the East Asian Australasian Flyway. – Rizalie L. Pineda