Sunday, June 23, 2024

PBBM Urged To Certify Bamboo Industry Bill ‘Urgent’

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PBBM Urged To Certify Bamboo Industry Bill ‘Urgent’

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Bamboo industry stakeholders on Thursday appealed to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to certify as urgent the Senate version of the proposed “Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act” following the passage of its counterpart, House Bill 7941, at the House of Representatives earlier this week.

In an interview, Rene “Butch” Madarang, executive director of the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC), said the enactment of a legal framework for the bamboo sector cannot be understated in view of the growing international market for high-value products made from engineered bamboo.

He recalled that a bamboo industry measure has been previously passed by the House, only to fizzle out at the Senate.

Madarang expressed optimism that this time, with the President’s prodding, senators will waste no time in approving their version of the proposed law.

The official lamented that the bamboo sector has been so neglected by past administrations that “the PBIDC has been operating on a zero budget.”

“We (the PBIDC) manage to get by (with no funding) because our officers are mostly ranking Cabinet men, so they are able to find the resources to ensure that we can have periodic meetings, and remain operational somehow,” he said.

The PBIDC is an agency attached to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Madarang pointed out that on Tuesday, Florida-based bamboo grower and processor Rizome announced a USD100 million (PHP5.5 billion) investment in Cagayan de Oro.

The multi-billion peso investment will finance the cultivation of bamboo over a huge swath of land, which when harvested will be processed into engineered bamboo at the company’s factory in the province.

Former Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr., a global investor at Rizome Philippines through subsidiary Bamboo Ecologic Export Corp. (BEEP), said that the company is bringing in cutting-edge, proprietary technology in bamboo wood manufacturing.

He revealed that Rizome is progressively infusing capital into its Cagayan de Oro plant.

“I want to bring the best technology here. I don’t want the Philippines to be second class. The investment is big. But (even now) our business is already a billion peso industry. And it employs thousands,” Lorenzo said in a statement.

It was reported that Rizome plans to cultivate some 50,000 hectares of bamboo land in Cagayan de Oro.

Each hectare of bamboo land can sustain one family, so, 50,000 hectares can potentially provide livelihood for that many families, according to a PBIDC study.

Meanwhile, Flor Tesoro, president of the Philippine Bamboo Society of Advocates, told the Philippine News Agency that CS First Green AIDI, a company in Bayambang, Pangasinan, is serving as a model of sustainable bamboo cultivation and product development.

The town is host to a 164-foot statue of St. Vincent Ferrer, which is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest bamboo sculpture.

Tesoro, a former Department of Science and Technology (DOST) undersecretary, said the colossal statue is a testament to recent technological leaps in engineering bamboo into a more durable and aesthetically pleasing building material.

“Bamboo is no longer just for building bahay kubos,” he added. (PNA)