TO uplift the livelihood of the poor and Indigenous Peoples (IP) in ancestral lands, the Department of Agriculture (DA) recently launched the “Buong Bansa Magtanim (BBM) ng kawayan” program.
Newly-appointed DA Undersecretary Deogracias Victor B. Savellano, who spearheaded the launching, said that the program aims to create livelihood in the countryside.
The program is part of the Marcos administration’s multi-billion peso “Bamboo Villages” flagship program. The program is also expected to generate foreign exchange from bamboo’s $90-billion global market by 2030.
Savellano disclosed that the BBM ng kawayan program will use bamboo as a climate change mitigation tool even as President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., himself cited during the United Nations General Assembly that the climate challenge is a major policy goal of his administration.
Savellano has been leading consultations on the concept of Bamboo Villages which he has been pushing for as an inclusive, community-based approach to create jobs and push agricultural development.
“With bamboo growing abundantly in the Philippines, we can tap a rich economic resource if we only have a national program to develop it as an industry as what our neighbors have already invested in,” said Savellano.
Among Asian bamboo programs that brought huge economic value are Indonesia’s 1,000 Bamboo Villages and Vietnam’s 100-hectare Bamboo Villages.
Meanwhile, Isidro I. Alcantara, a bank and mining executive, said Thailand just allocated $10 billion for the next 10 years to develop its bamboo industry.
Alcantara pioneered bamboo planting in a mining area in Marcventures in Surigao del Sur. China generates the biggest bamboo revenue at $35 billion yearly.
Savellano just led last week a consultation in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon about the proposed legislation allocating 5% of the budget of various government agencies for bamboo propagation.
However, during a Senate hearing last Aug. 9, he stressed that an institutionalized bamboo program will be needed to consolidate different government programs on bamboo that are now scattered across agencies.
Bamboo bills filed in Congress, particularly Senate Bill 605 and House Bill 7941, have provided for a P100-million budget for the institutionalization of the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Program.