Ramp up govt support for bamboo industry –Bamboo experts, advocates

CALOOCAN CITY, March 27 (PIA) -- Bamboo experts and advocates highlighted the huge potential of the Philippine bamboo industry in generating sustainable livelihoods, socio-economic development and climate and environmental protection during the 39th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways,” with the topic “Bamboo is Life!”

The online conversation, hosted by three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, was the last of the four-part episode focused on supporting resilient livelihoods. Deputy Speaker and Ilocos Sur First District Representative Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano; Mayor Esmie Pineda of Lubao, Pampanga; Philippine Bamboo Foundation President Ed Manda; and Architect Jed Michael de Guzman, a bamboo material expert and agripreneur, joined as guests.

“Why is bamboo important for the Filipinos? Just like bamboo, we are resilient people. Second, it is important economically, daan-daang taon na itong ginagamit sa ating mga tahanan. Fast-growing pa ito, renewable, at sustainable resource,” said Legarda. “Bamboo is also good ecologically. It is one of the best sequesterer ng carbon dioxide. Ayon sa Ecosystems Research Development Bureau (ERDB), mature bamboos could store up to 40-44% of the total amount of carbon in their biomass," she added.

The guests shared the initiatives of their respective jurisdiction to support the Philippine bamboo industry, and the development of more opportunities for those working in the sector in the new normal.

“Sobrang mahalaga ang potensyal ng industriya ng kawayan sa halos lahat ng aspeto ng buhay – sa kalikasan, kabuhayan, kaunlaran, at kinabukasan. Kaya itinatag namin ang ‘Kilusang 5K’ upang hikayatin ang sambayanan na magtanim ng kawayan to address climate change and global warming, improve air quality, alleviate poverty, and provide livelihood to everyone,” said Deputy Speaker Savellano.

“Dito sa Lubao, aside sa Bamboo Park, meron din kaming nursery na merong 26 bamboo species. With the help of DOST at DTI, nagbibigay sila ng mga basic trainings kung papaano kami makagagawa ng produkto out of bamboo, tulad ng speakers, lamps, at frames. Sadly, nag-stop dahil sa pandemic, pero we’re still on the process ng paghahanap ng ibang bamboo species dahil gusto rin namin mag-propagate ng ibang species,” said Mayor Pineda.

“Yung massive education campaign, kailangang pagtulung-tulungan. With the education campaign sa ating mga farmers, mas maiintindihan nila ang economic uses ng kawayan. Kasi pag wala silang education diyan at hindi nila naiintindihan, hindi nila papansinin yung kawayan na nandoon lang sa bakuran nila,” said Manda.

Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda's Facebook video screengrab

“Bilang arkitekto, sa side po namin, meron tayong kakulangan sa suplay ng kawayan. At kung ano ang kakulangan na yun, gumagawa tayo ng paraan kung papaano pa rin siya magagamit sa paggawa ng istruktura, paggawa ng furniture. At ang problema natin ngayon, maraming arkitekto, maraming contractor ang gustong gumawa na gamit ang kawayan, ngunit kulang sa carpenters, skilled laborers, at wood carvers para gawin ito,” said Architect de Guzman.

Legarda stressed that the country’s bamboo sector requires technical and financial support from the government to make it more competitive in both local and international markets to provide opportunities for local employment and to establish bamboo-based enterprises.

“There's so much interest, passion, initiative, and resources sa bamboo kaya lang, kalat-kalat e. Hindi natin masasabi na walang pondo, [dahil] ang daming pondo. It's just a matter of earmarking. Where is it in the budget? Which program or bureau or agency? Of the whole budget, what percentage is dedicated to bamboo? Kung walang line item, pwede pa ‘yang i-allocate sa areas ng bamboo production, planting, rehabilitation, conservation, and nurseries,” Legarda concluded.

As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, "Stories for a Better Normal" aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.

This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, The Climate Reality Project-Philippines and Mother Earth Foundation. 

To recall, the Climate Change Commission is the lead policy-making body of the government tasked to coordinate, monitor and evaluate government programs and ensure mainstreaming of climate change in national, local, and sectoral development plans towards a climate-resilient and climate-smart Philippines. (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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