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Solon rallies peers to fund bamboo production

DEPUTY Speaker Deogracias Victor ‘DV’ B. Savellano has asked his peers in the House of Representatives to take a second look at the bamboo industry as a source of income and as an environmental solution to the incessant flooding that has plagued the country for years on end.

Savellano, in a privilege speech on the occasion of Global Warming and Climate Change Consciousness Week (Nov. 19-25), said the bamboo is the answer to the widespread flooding in the country as well as a good source of income for the Filipino people.

Savellano pointed out that there are two intertwined ways by which the country can stop flooding – one is Infrastructure like dam, dike, irrigation, spillway, slope protection, flood control projects, dredging, and pumping stations among others; the other is through tree planting which could take years.

“Ang isang solusyon ay ang pagtatanim na mas mabagal at mahirap. Kailangan natin magtanim ng mga puno sa mga bundok at talampas kung saan nagmumula ang tubig sa mga ilog. Medyo mabagal ito dahil ang isang puno ay kailangan itanim at alagaan ng sampung taon bago maging matayog,” he said.

The deputy speaker stressed the need to slow the flow of water from the mountains to the plains and the metropolis.

“Sa pagpabagal ng daloy ng tubig, kailangan sila parehas – infrastructure at tanim.Ang puno ay sampung taon bago lumaki pero ang malalakas na bagyo ay taon-taon,” said Savellano.

Savellano, however, posited that there is a faster way to reap the benefits of tree planting, and that is by way of planting bamboo.

Planting bamboo is way much cheaper than the infrastructure solution which entails billions of pesos.

“Ang kawayan ay mura, mabilis tumubo. Hind kailangan alagaan masyado. Malakas sumipsip ng tubig. Laganap sa buong Pilipinas,” the lawmaker from Ilocos Sur said.

“Ang kawayan ay hindi namimili ng lugar sa Pilipinas. Ang kawayan ay pwedeng pagmulan ng labong na pagkain. Ang tubo ng kawayan ay three to fourfeet kada 24 hours. Wala nang bibilis pa diyan. Sa ilang buwan lang ay matayog na ang kawayan. Kung maghintay ka ng dalawang taon, ang isang puno ng kawayan ay nagiging umpok ng 15 kawayan. Times 15 in 2 years. Matulin po talaga sa pagdami,” he explained.

The bamboo can very well take the place of trees.

“Ito ay mahusay na pamalit ng puno. Pwede ito ma-harvest sa loob ng 4 na taon. Pagkatapos, taun-taon na siyang pwede i-harvest. Marami tayong dalubhasa ng kawayan at ito ay pwedeng maging malaking industriya. Pero pinakamahalaga sa lahat, pwede ito panlaban sa baha. Kung ngayon ka na magtatanin, sa 2022 malaki na ang inyong kawayan.”

Savellano noted that a boost to the bamboo industry is the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) which is under the Department of Trade and Industry. It was established through Executive Order 879 in 2010 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It failed to leave up to its expectations until it was revived by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez in 2016.

It was also in 2016 when Savellano filed a bill for the creation of the Philippine Bamboo Industry Roadmap.

But while the lawmaker and Lopez are focused on keeping the agency afloat amid the floodings, the budget allocation for the PBIDC for 2021 is zero.

While the private sector is currently looking for strategies to fuel the industry, congress looked the other way around.

“Zero. Wala. Kabo. Bokya. Hindi binigyan kahit piso,” Savellano lamented.

“Nakakahiya ang manlimos sa mga tao pero wala kaming magawa. Sa budget na P3.4 trillion, ang lahat sana ng proyekto na may kinalaman o pwedeng may tulong sa kawayan ay gawin nang maayos. Ipatupad ng tama,” he said.

Savellano said that the bamboo, which has been declared as a high-value crop by the Department of Agriculture on February 6, 2020 has a variety of uses.

“Mula kawayan poles, pwede na itong gawing barbecue sticks, floor panels, charcoal briquettes, furniture, tela, papel at bullet proof vest,” Savellano said..

“Kapag malalaki na ang inyong mga kawayan, bibilhin ng DepEd ang inyong mga bamboo school chairs at desks. Mandato yan ng EO 879 at ang problema na lang daw nila ay wala na silang mabili. Kailangan na ito ipatupad! Negosyo na yan ng inyong mga kababayan,” he said.

“Inaanyayahan ko ang aking mga kapwa Congressman na ilaan ang ilang bahagi ng budget sa flood control projects sa pagtatanim ng kawayan sa mga bundok. Tuloy pa din ang infra projects na panlaban sa baha mula sa DPWH at NIA pero huwag ninyo kalimutan ang bamboo plantations sa bundok.”

Publication Source :    People's Tonight