Press Release
August 25, 2015

Villar cites DENR move to showcase LPPCHEA as bamboo propagation area

Sen. Cynthia Villar said the ceremonial planting of bamboo at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) puts forward the habitat's value not only as a protected area, but also as a place where bamboos thrive and propagate.

Villar commended the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) for recognizing the importance of LPPCHEA in carrying out bamboo reforestation in the country.

"The government and environmentalists are well aware of the benefits that bamboo can provide, iyan din ang nagbungsod sa pag isyu ng Executive Order 879 that created the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) noong 2010 pa," Villar said.

The EO mandates the reforestation of at least 500,000 hectares with bamboo. This is part of the one million hectares of designated areas as its contribution to the ASEAN commitment of 20 million hectares of new forest by 2020.

The order also mandates support for local government units to promote and establish bamboo plantations, crafts and products.

The planting activity was also attended by Sec. Nereus Acosta, LLDA general manager and presidential adviser for environmental protection; Lourdes Wagan, regional director, DENR-NCR; Demetrio Ignacio, undersecretary for field operations, DENR Central Office and representatives from the Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress and the Cavitex Advocates for the Restoration of the Environment.

Last month, Villar was in Maasin, Iloilo, referred to as the Bamboo Capital of the Philippines with over 4,000 hectares of bamboo plantation.

"The people there are also extremely proud of their expertise in bamboo splitting, weaving sawali and producing various products from bamboo such as barbecue sticks, chopsticks, toothpicks and bamboo charcoal. At supplier sila ng malalaking fast food chains," Villar said.

"There is really a need to aggressively promote the product development and market access of bamboo products to sustain the development of the bamboo industry. With enough assistance, kahit na ang mga micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) na bamboo products ang negosyo ay mas lalago," she added.

VilIar authored Senate Bill No. 300 or "An Act Proposing the Creation of the Philippine Bamboo and Rattan Center (PBRC) to Conserve, Propagate and Promote Bamboo and Rattan Species".

"As chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, I support the bamboo industries, primarily because bamboo is a cash crop for farmers and can be a good source of income and livelihood of poor communities," she said.

In 2005, when she was Las Pinas Representative, Villar established the Bambusetum in Las Pinas, the only one of its kind in Metro Manila. It is a protected area where 37 varieties of bamboo are grown and showcased. It serves several purposes: first, as a riverside park; second, as part of erosion control measure; and third, as a means in educating people about various bamboo species.

To date, volunteers have planted over 11,000 bamboo culms covering 20 kilometers of river banks. To maintain the plantations, the "Bamboo Stewardship Program" was established wherein members of the Samahang Magpaparol ng Las Piñas were awarded certificates of stewardship over 10 culms of bamboo each. The lantern-makers have the benefit of harvesting the poles to use them as raw materials in traditional lantern-making, provided that they ensure that they continuously nurture and replenish any harvested culms.

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