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Mandate use of ‘bamboo’ school chairs, PBBM urged

September 5, 2022 Cory Martinez 423 views

THE Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) has urged President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (PBBM) to mandate the use of “bamboo” for school chairs.

PBIDC Officer Deogracias Victor Savellano made the appeal to help boost the bamboo industry, which has been largely private sector-led.

He said the move would also induce demand for the crop that generates $4.6 million in largely private-led investments.

Savellano added that the PBIDC hardly had any budget and “could not fully [functional] because of lack of budget.”

He further disclosed that the PBIDC was created through Executive Order (EO) 879 and mandates that 25% of all desks and tables of the Department of Education (DepEd) schools shall be made of bamboo.

However, there is a limited supply to meet the 25% threshold, which prompted the DepEd to remove bamboo in 2021 as part of acceptable material in teacher and student chairs and tables.

Savellano claimed that the industry has yet to take off and realize its full potential.

“Bamboo is important. You can’t have fishing boats without bamboo outriggers. You can’t have fish pens without bamboo poles. Banana or export will yield to the ground without bamboo poles to prop it up,” he said.

“Labong can only be harvested if there is enough bamboo. Maybe now that PBBM is the DA Secretary, bamboo can be given due focus, and its large potential realized,” Savellano added.

At the same time, the group also urged the President to pick bamboo as the symbolic tree to plant for the customary tree planting ceremony on his birthday on Sept. 13.

Savellano said that PBIDC hoped that President Marcos will use bamboo for the symbolic tree planting as this will stress bamboo’s high valuation as an indigenous highly-marketable Philippine product.

Meanwhile, Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food (PCAFI) President Danilo V. Fausto said that the government should support bamboo planting considering its versatility in use.

Fausto added that demand should also be encouraged as it is not only DepEd that’s mandated to use it but even government offices.

“Garlic (like other commodities) has been allocated with a budget of P100 million. But the budget went missing. With bamboo, there is no budget that was lost. Why? Because there is no budget at all,” according to Fausto.

Savellano, on the other hand, added that bamboo is the fastest growing tree that can be harvested in three to four years.

“Hopefully before PBBM steps down in 2028, it is already a huge industry,” said Savellano.

PBIDC’s members include secretaries of the Department of Agriculture (DA), DepEd, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).