Popularly called Freedom Islands, the Las Piñas – Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LLPCHEA) in the Philippines is a wonderful site composed of Freedom and Long islands. It in fact resembles a bird spreading its wings in this Google Map. Adding to its wonder are the 80 migratory and resident birds such as the endemic Philippine Duck, the endangered Chinese Egret, and the rare Pied Avocet that consider this 175-hectare their home. Add to that are the 5,000 migratory birds passing through it from the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
With its thick mangrove forest, LLPCHEA has protected Metro Manila from typhoon surges. Nine species can be found here, including the Nilad, where the city of Manila (Maynilad) got its name. It contributes to sustainability of the livelihood of Manila Bay communities. Aside from garbage, big corporations have threatened Manila Bay with reclamation projects that will destroy this critical habitat. Affected communities linking arms with organizations committed to protecting LLPCHEA have been struggling against these reclamation projects. Coastal clean-ups have been continuously conducted for the purpose of regularly cleaning-up the coast and for highlighting the issue of reclamation.
Organizations who lead the advocacy for its protection –Save Freedom Island Movement, Earth Island Institute Philippines, and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, aim to gather more support and raise awareness internationally for the Freedom Islands and the communities caring and protecting it. Vote for Las Piñas now!