ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal – The Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) on Monday welcomed the appointment by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. of its vice chairman as a new undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
In an interview, PBIDC executive director Butch Madarang said putting politician and bamboo advocate Deogracias Victor Barbers Savellano in the key position bodes well for multi-sector efforts to develop the domestic bamboo industry.
He noted that Savellano, who served as Ilocos Sur governor and later, as a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, has been given due recognition for contributing to poverty reduction and economic development through the industrialization of the bamboo sector.
“His appointment would bring not only a wealth of experience in local governance and legislation but also a full grasp of the real needs of the common farmer and the things to be done to make their lives better,” Madarang said.
Savellano took his oath of office as Agriculture undersecretary in Malacañang on Monday afternoon.
As a lawmaker, he authored House Bill 9576 or the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act, which was passed earlier this year, while the Senate is still deliberating on its own version of the proposed law.
The PBDIC, an attached agency to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said it targets to capture a significant share of the global bamboo market, which will generate over USD92 billion by 2027, according to projections by United Nations Comtrade.
The processing of bamboo into high-value finished products can potentially catapult many micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to industrial status, the council added.
Meanwhile, Philippine Bamboo Federation president Ed Manda said in a statement that Savellano’s appointment “will further boost efforts of stakeholders to fast-track development of the emerging bamboo industry.”
Savellano founded Kilusang 5K (Kawayan: Kalikasan, Kaunlaran, Kabuhayan, Kinabukasan) Foundation Inc., which partnered with Rotary International to establish a 30-hectare pilot bamboo farm in Karugo Falls and Puray, Rodriguez (formerly Montalban) in this province.
The project’s aim is to demonstrate the economic and environmental value of growing bamboo.
The PBIDC is currently leading an effort to fill 20,000 hectares of partially denuded forest within the Marikina Watershed with bamboo to fight perennial floods and landslides in the area. (PNA)