Kawayan Act seen to contribute $3.5B to economy, pollution control aims

by janice jan
Bamboo poles

The Senate has strongly supported passage of the “Kawayan Act” as bamboo has the potential to contribute $3.5 billion to the economy and strengthen the country’s pollution control under its Sustainable Development Goal commitments.

A Senate Bill or an “Act Institutionalizing the Bamboo Industry in the Philippines and Appropriating Funds Therefor” has been broadly supported in the Senate.

An official legislative statement indicated Senator Mark A. Villar’s speech has been “overwhelmingly supported by the Senate having been co-sponsored by multiple senators, including Senate President Migz Zubiri who is one of the co-authors and co-sponsors of the bill.

Villar, chairman of the Senate Committee for Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship. led sponsorship of the bill.

Villar cited multiple economic potentials and environmental values of the bamboo industry including its global trade value that is expected to reach $88.43 billion by 2030 among others.

The bamboo industry is also expected to contribute $3.5 billion to the Philippine economy. He also emphasized the efficient pollution control capacity of bamboo as it releases 38% more oxygen than trees and sequesters 12 to 17 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare.

“The Institutionalization of the Bamboo Industry Development in the Philippines or the Kawayan Act aims to pursue further efforts that will develop the bamboo industry. At present, government agencies such as DTI, DOST, DENR and DA implement their own research and development programs, in an attempt to address the insufficiency of information and data resources, among others,” Villar said during a sponsorship speech last week.

“Yet, these initiatives are fragmented and this is worsened by the perception of the private sector for a lack of a functional governmental body overseeing the development of the industry which thus hinders its optimization.”

The Kawayan Act seeks to institutionalize the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC), which was created by Executive Order 879, to serve as the central body for overall policy and program direction for all bamboo stakeholders. The Council is also mandated to formulate and implement the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Roadmap.

The Kawayan Act will further provide a comprehensive approach to the development of the bamboo industry as its provisions mandates DENR, DTI, DOT, DepEd, and DOST and their attached agencies to use bamboo in government programs and to scale up the use, investment promotions, research and development of bamboo.

“The Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Roadmap will be guided with actionable, time-bound, and realistic objectives that are aligned with the Philippine Development Plan, in which the former will include substantial and attractive incentives to encourage investments in the bamboo industry,” said Villar.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Deogracias Victor B. Savellano has expressed confidence that the legislative support to the institutionalization of the PBIDC will accelerate bamboo’s role in industrialization. It will lure private investors with the incentives granted by the law.

PBIDC Executive Director Rene Butch Madarang said the Kawayan Act will speed up and enhance efficiency of plantation, harvest, and bamboo transport permit approvals.

Savellano who is also PBIDC vice chairman said PBIDC, since the issuance of EO 879 in 2010, has been convening representatives of DENR, DA, DTI, DepEd, and other appointed public and private agencies as mandated, despite budget lack.

Villlar said “through the Kawayan Act, we can look forward to a Philippine economy that stands as mighty and grows as rapidly as bamboo does. Similarly, the development of our bamboo industry mirrors the persisting Filipino resilience amid various challenges. No matter what hinders us, no matter what sways and bends us, we will continue to push forward towards progress and development,” he said.

“It is high time we push for the development of the Philippine bamboo industry” – (PR)

Growing bamboo

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