Pasay, Metro Manila — October 17, 2019 — The Mining industry represented by the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and the Philippine Nickel Industry Association, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Trade and Industry, unveiled The Bamboo Initiative – a nationwide campaign aimed at revegetating mined-out areas with fast-growing bamboo, thereby increasing bamboo production and creating lucrative enterprises for mining communities – at the Manila FAME.

Bamboo for Rehabilitating Lands

The campaign is a response to President Duterte’s order to the mining industry to revegetate mined-out areas. “In his State of the Nation Address, the President said that the mining industry should repair the environment which has been mismanaged. The DENR and the DTI are initiating the rehabilitation of mined-out areas using bamboo to address this matter, while also helping expand the country’s bamboo resources”, said DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu. According to Cimatu, the group chose bamboo in rehabilitating degraded lands because it “grows fast, releases 30 percent more oxygen than trees, and can absorb heavy metals from contaminated soil or water.”

Bamboo for Economic Growth

DTI Secretary and Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council Chairman Ramon Lopez added that “the potential for bamboo is limitless, given the variety of its use.”  Lopez also lauded Secretary Cimatu and the mining companies who have started to plant bamboo in their mined-out areas, which will help increase the supply of raw materials for use in creating high-value bamboo products in the future. According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, 12 mining companies have already begun planting bamboo in 12 provinces across nine regions all over the country.

Bamboo for Communities

For the Philippine Nickel Industry Association Chairman Butch Alcantara, planting bamboo was more than just for rehabilitation, but also the long-term economic development of their communities. “What sustainable livelihood do we leave our host communities, especially the indigenous peoples, when the mining stops?”, he asked. Mr. Alcantara added that a 10-hectare plot of bamboo can help a worker earn five to six times more income than their salary. “The bamboo industry is a $60 billion industry where our communities can participate by manufacturing and supplying high-value products globally”. Atty. Ronald Recidoro, Executive Director of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines stated that the Bamboo Initiative emphasizes the significance of the mining industry’s role in creating opportunities and social enterprise.

“The Bamboo Initiative will boost the development of the bamboo industry, create sustainable livelihood projects for mining communities and thereby re-invent mining as a social enterprise. This will help change the conversation about mining”, says Atty. Leo Dominguez, a proponent of the Bamboo Initiative, and a prominent mining lawyer.

The Bamboo Initiative will be at Manila FAME until 19 October 2019.♦

Date of Release: 16 October 2019