Speech of Secretary Ramon. M. Lopez
4th Forum on the Mining Policy Direction of DENR
July 31, 2018, La Breza Hotel, Quezon City
Good afternoon everyone. Sec. Roy Cimatu, maraming salamat po for allowing us, the DTI family, your partner is sustainable development to be with you in this forum this afternoon.
To the officials of DENR, Usecs, Asecs, and Directors, and your colleagues,
To the stakeholders in the mining industry,
At ang aming pong mga kasamang mga bamboo advocates, pinapangunahan po ni Atty. Leo Dominguez who is a part of your family, GM Ed Manda, because you might be wondering kung ano yung ginagawa ng mga nandito sa grupo na to. Si GM Ed Manda.
Si DTI Regional Director Judith Angeles ng Region. Siya po ang Cluster Development Head ng Bamboo Cluster ng DTI because we assign industry clusters from plantation to the finished products per regional director, so si RD Judith sa bamboo.
Director of BOI, Nestor Ansalin, Mr. Cris Lacson, another partner in the advocacy and the rest of the DTI and BOI family.
We are here to present the possible partnership between DENR and DTI. We have shared objectives. Our President has always raised concerns on sustainable development.
By the way, I am the other Lopez at the Cabinet. So Ramon Lopez, still here. But I don’t know up to when.
But the same concern, as we want to push for development, we are very much aware of environmental sustainability and environmental protection. Time and again, we are always challenged.
We in the mining industry, isasama ko na yung sarili ko at ang DTI because it’s an industry development concern on how we can really have a sustainable industry, especially talking of rehabilitation.
Several occasions, our President has mentioned that he is concerned, especially on the rehabilitation of open pit. Napapansin niyo yan ano? Short of, I don’t know kung nag-issue na Sec. [Cimatu], ng policy on open pit or against open pit, but short of banning it.
But it’s really up to the [DENR] Secretary and the stakeholders on how we can present a viable proposal to make it a sustainable kind of development. Because our President is simply concerned on—mga maliliit na community, mga maliliit na tao and the environment. ‘Yun lang naman ang mga gusto niyang ma-address. If we have an answer for that, then we can present a viable sustainable plan moving forward; and that is important.
To present an alternative, we understand that this concept is not really new. But this is something that we can all adopt and have a bigger participation to. And we’re talking of planting bamboo as a rehabilitation plan in your mined areas, especially in the open pit areas.
We have the team here to discuss how it can be done, even in the technical viability. I understand that this is also being done by some of the companies. But this is an area that can really make mining a sustainable undertaking.
And I understand that you are supposed to allocate a fund for this rehabilitation project. Tama ba? There is this 3% of OPEX? Whatever the amount is, that amount will definitely be very useful. Idi-discuss na lang natin nila Sec. Roy on what should be the amount. And that amount is how much can be allocated to a bamboo rehabilitation program.
For DENR, this is a win-win approach. Because of course for DENR, the goal is always sustainable development. And I read in one article that in the Climate Change Commission, we are supposed to plant 1 million hectares—I’m not sure if this is just for bamboo or for all other trees.
And of course for many of us who are environment advocates, there are a lot of benefits. There’s beauty in having a bamboo plantation. It’s fast-growing, has a high carbon absorption, the best environment cleaner as we say. And there is relative ease in implementation.
For the Board of Investments and the DTI, it serves as raw materials for higher value bamboo products. And we can show you a lot of possibilities on bamboo products. Not only limited for poles for walling for table, ‘yan na ‘yung mga old style. Now we have re-engineered bamboo products for panels, walls that are smooth. Also for food, for beverage, for beer, there are many uses. As food, all the leaves there, ‘yung mga shoots. Flooring, the basic uses for charcoal, fiber boards, handicrafts, lumber, etc.
The DTI is the head of the Bamboo Development Cluster Council and of course we support not only creating bamboo products but also the supply of the raw materials. And we have to work closely with the DENR to make sure that we have an integrated and complete supply chain from planting all the requirements that will be needed on the demand side.
Our estimate, and this can be validated later, we have about 5 million supply right now of bamboo and the demand is somewhere in the vicinity of 20 million. Malaking kakulangan, 20 million would be needed. And in terms of hectares, right now, is only about 10,000 hectares. But I asked, earlier, and ang mined area is 300,000 hectares. So marami pa tayong pwedeng paglagyan ng bamboo. We’re only in the 10,000-hectare size, but 300,000 is a good possibility to plant bamboo.
We are here to help you. This is a whole-of-government approach to address the supply chain issues on bamboo from production to the use of bamboo-based products. To the communities, it will provide livelihood, from raising to initial stage processing, para may value-added na gagawin sila. There can also be consolidating of the supply of bamboo.
For DENR, it talks about suitability and greening. For DTI, it will supply the needs of the manufacturers of bamboo products. At the end of the day, we see this as an opportunity for bamboo products to provide more sustainable means to alleviate poverty, especially in the communities near your mining area.
We solicit your support and the support of our partners in the DENR. Maraming salamat, Sec. Roy and the team for giving us this opportunity. This is just an opening statement but I hope that you will allow some members of the team to give a short presentation on bamboo. We will try to make this quick. Salamat po for giving us the first item in the agenda.
Thank you.