Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella visited the ERDB’s Bamboo Plantation Project in Fort Ramon Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija last August 8, 2016. He was accompanied by Lt. General Glorioso V. Miranda, Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Phillippines (AFP); Dr. Henry A. Adornado, Director of the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB); Forester Gregorio E. Santos, Jr, Project Coordinator of the DENR-DND (Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Department of National Defense) Bamboo Project; and Ms. Analyn Pasagdan, Technical staff of the project.

Before the visit, an initial briefing/coordination meeting was held at the Armed Forces of the Phillippines (AFP) Reserve Command Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. Secretary Abella immediately briefed the group on the purpose of the trip which is to assess the facilities of the 7th Infantry Division to house the 2,000 drug users/drug dependents who have surrendered and presently undergoing rehabilitation.

The group visited the proposed housing site for drug dependents including the bamboo plantation. Secretary Abella was very impressed to see/witness the plantation especially in the area where cassava is intercropped with the giant bamboo (Gigantochloa asper). Likewise, he requested Director Adornado to look into the possibility of raising livestock (e.g free-range chicken) in the formulation of the Agroforestry Plan.

Dir. Adornado suggested that an interagency team or task force be created composed of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Health (DOH) to prepare an implementation plan including the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the project. Gregorio E. Santos, Jr., CZFERD