Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon sa inyong lahat!

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) welcomes the guests and participants in today’s North and Central Luzon Virtual Bamboo Summit, as well as the forthcoming summits to be held throughout the country. We hope everyone is keeping safe during these pandemic days.  

We would also like to recognize House Deputy Speaker DV Savellano—who is likewise our vice-chairman of the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC)—for continuing to champion a strong bamboo industry. Further, we would like to thank our PBIDC executive director Mr. Butch Madarang, na talagang masipag at sumusubaybay sa mga polisiya at proyekto dito sa bamboo development and for his efforts in helping us to build the country’s bamboo industry.

The PBIDC, which DTI serves as chair, has organized these summits to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss best practices, concerns, and other matters of the bamboo industry. After the holding of a workshop formulating a strategic plan last August to operationalize the Bamboo Industry Roadmap 2020-2022, we hope that this series of summits will help us to achieve the goals in our roadmap.

At this point, we would like to reiterate the goals and benefits of developing a strong Philippine bamboo industry and its value chain. By planting more bamboo trees to increase the supply of bamboo, we aim to create a source of livelihood for our people, especially in communities in the countryside near the areas where bamboo is being planted. Napakaimportante po na makapagtanim tayo ng bamboo, ito ho kasi talaga ang kailangan. Siyempre ho, kailangan ng raw material para mas marami tayo maproseso na bamboo products. Wala po tayong magagawang products kung walang bamboo supply. On this note, we would like to cite the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for including bamboo in their National Greening Program to ensure a continuous planting of bamboo in bamboo-friendly areas na kumikita pa ang mga communities doon po, ang ating mga kababayan. Maraming salamat po Sec. Roy Cimatu at sa inyong team sa DENR.

This bamboo can then support the requirements of our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), particularly the producers of bamboo-based finished goods. DTI believes that the bamboo industry has strong potential for business. There is a wide application of bamboo wood, like reengineered bamboo. Kapag sinabing reengineered bamboo, dinurog na ‘yan at puwede na gawing bamboo panel. Kung nakikita niyo gaano ka-flat ang plywood, ganyan din ang puwedeng gawin sa bamboo. These are flat but are stronger than plywood. Our country’s furniture-makers can take advantage of these bamboo-based materials and reengineered bamboo for their products, which will give them a higher value and earn them more profit, especially ngayon na in demand pa ang bamboo-based products. Allow me at this point to also thank Department of Agriculture (DA) Sec. William Dar kasi sinama rin po ang bamboo sa high-value crops na kung saan ay mas mabibigyan po ng mas maraming supporta ang mga produkto tulad ng bamboo at lahat po ng nasa high-value crops groups nila, so thank you po sa partners natin sa DA.

As for the environmental impact of this thrust, we would like to underline that bamboo trees produce 35% more oxygen than hardwood trees. What’s more, our mining industry has made bamboo planting their primary project after their mining operations, as these can help in the regeneration of the quality of soil due to the fast growth of bamboo. In other words, yoon pong mined-out areas ay mareregenerate at mererevive for agriculture products

With this mind, our whole-of-government approach has resulted in the implementation of a number of projects that would help us to fulfill the goals of our roadmap. Last year, eight government agencies—including DTI—had implemented a total of Php441M-worth of projects related to the various aspects of meeting the roadmap’s objectives of bamboo development. Likewise, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has made Php10B-worth of loans available for would-be bamboo farmers. And thanks to a whole-of-society approach, we have planted 16,867 hectares of bamboo nationwide for the year 2020, a little more than the target of 16,687.

For 2021, the same agencies shall be implementing a total of P594M-worth of projects, while P10B-worth of DBP loans will be made available. For 2022, a total of P1.4B-worth of projects have been proposed for that budget cycle, and about P10B-worth of loans again will be again made available. Our aim is to plant 23,671 hectares of bamboo nationwide for 2021 and 40,000 hectares for 2022. 

On DTI’s part, we’ve provided support for bamboo agri-business and bamboo processing to cooperatives, MSMEs, associations, and local government units (LGUs) through our Shared Services Facilities (SSF) Program and other technical assistance. DTI has also provided training to help them develop value-add for their bamboo products. Last year, DTI implemented projects worth around P15M in 11 regions, of which P9M was allocated to North and Central Luzon. For 2021, we’ll be implementing projects amounting to around P41M in 12 regions, of which P20M will be allocated to North and Central Luzon. For 2022, we are proposing projects worth around P545M in 13 regions, of which about P14M shall be allocated in North Luzon and Central Luzon.

We would like to thank our lawmakers for ensuring we have the budget to push for the strengthening of the bamboo industry. As there remain other goals, objectives, and strategies in the roadmap that are yet to be met, we have to double our efforts to fully implement our roadmap so that we can substantially uplift bamboo along the various stages of its value chain. We hope that all of you here in today’s summit will contribute towards a whole-of-nation promotion of sustained bamboo industry development.

We would also like to point out that a strong Philippine bamboo industry focusing on sustainable development can also contribute towards our country’s post-pandemic recovery. Thus, let’s make bamboo a significant force in our economic, environmental, social, and cultural lives. In doing so, we can build back better and fulfill the promise made by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that the protection of the environment must be a top priority, wherein the extracted resources of our country must be used for the benefit of the Filipino people.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 22 March 2021