The creation of a state coordinating agency for bamboo development is being pushed by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau to fortify Philippines’ ability to capture a sizable share of the $20-billion global bamboo market.
Senate Bill No. 1478 or the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act aims to create the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council, according to Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.
The bamboo industry can generate numerous jobs and be a top exporter and dollar generator, he said.
“With only a handful of countries competing in the bamboo industry worldwide, there is a great potential for the Philippine bamboo industry to get the bigger pie in the world market and be on the top export products of the country,” Zubiri said.
The absence of a government agency focused on bamboo hinders development of the industry.
“Currently, there is no institution that is dedicated to oversee the development of the bamboo industry. Among the impediments to realize bamboo industry in the Philippines are the dispersed programs, unsupportive policies, and lack of incentives to attract investments,” he said.
SB 1478 will also create under PBIDC the Bamboo Industry Research and Development Center (BIRDC) which will have these functions:
• Promote establishment and management of bamboo nurseries, plantations and processing facilities that would accelerate the production and commercialization of bamboo and various bamboo products;
• Promote market access of its technologies and products;
• Evaluate the performance of industry programs and projects;
• Partner with the private sector and other government and non-government agencies in the implementation of the Philippine Bamboo Roadmap (PBR);
• Accept grants, donations and contributions from local and international donors; and
• Conduct capability-building initiatives for farmers, processors, designers, and other 10 stakeholders.
Many enterprises are still utilizing wood working machines which are not suitable tool for processing bamboo. There is also a growing shortage of supply of bamboo raw materials.
ERDB pushes for the immediate passage of SB 1478 and provided technical inputs into it through the Technical Working Group supported by bamboo experts and scientists of ERDB led by its director Dr. Henry A. Adornado.
SB 1478 was proposed by the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship jointly with the Committees on Finance, and Ways and Means.
Zubiri said during a hearing last May 30 that PHILBIDA is based on the targets in the PBR which includes scientific propagation, processing, utilization, business development, and commercialization of Philippine bamboos.
The PBR requires bamboo to take at least twenty percent 20% of the annual planting materials needed in the National Greening Program. It mandates the use bamboo in the manufacture of at least twenty five percent 25% of desks and chairs in public primary and secondary schools.
Zubiri said bamboo growing has important environmental benefits, absorbing carbon dioxide better than trees and provides 35% higher oxygen than trees.
It also aids in riverbanks stabilization and erosion control.