The Mining and Degraded Areas Rehabilitation Research Center (MDARRC) conducted a one-day training on bamboo and macro-somatic clonal propagation on May 3, 2017 at MDARRC Research Station 1, Amas, Kidapawan City. The training was conducted to capacitate stakeholders from the municipalities of 1st congressional district of Cotabato Province, namely: Pigcawayan, Alamada, Libungan, Midsayap, Aleosan, Pikit and Banisilan (PALMA PB), to support their thrust in the conservation and rehabilitation of Libungan-Alamada Watershed through nursery establishment and tree growing activities.

Twenty participants from the seven member municipalities took part in the training which were composed of representatives of Project Management Office, selected barangay officials and Peoples Organization leaders. Headed by PALMA PB Alliance Development Board Assistant Manager Mr. Freddie C. Tuya, the participants were trained through lecture-demo about bamboo propagation techniques as well as the macrosomatic clonal propagation of forest tree species and had the chance to experience the actual process of cloning through the hands-on training.

Following the hands-on training, the group toured around the clonal nursery and witnessed the actual nursery operation. Mr. Tuya shared that the board is planning to establish a nursery of forest tree species and bamboo in Barangay Palacat, Aleosan, Cotabato as part of providing sustainable development to the communities of which the recipients are mostly members of the Indigenous People.

Ms. Vilma Flauta-Nitura, In-Charge of MDARRC Research Station 1, appreciated the Alliance for considering MDARRC as their partner for learning towards environmental protection and conservation. Moreover, Ms. Nitura expressed her desire to build partnership with the PALMA PB Alliance to further assist them in their conservation and rehabilitation efforts through provision of technical assistance and transfer of technologies generated and developed by the Center and the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB).

Initial brainstorming and fruitful discussion focused on the possible forging of a Memorandum of Agreement between the ERDB under the watch of Director Henry A. Adornado and PALMA PB Alliance Development Board. If the partnership would be pushed through, part of the partnership would be the production of quality planting materials of indigenous and other economically-important forest tree species by MDARRC to support the re-greening and reforestation efforts of PALMA PB in their area of jurisdiction. The Alliance, on the other hand, shall take charge in the maintenance and protection of the areas to be planted with the produced quality planting materials.

At the end of the activity, the participants took home planting materials of white lauan (Shorea contorta) to augment their tree planting activities within parts of the 52,000 - hectare agroforestry area.

PALMA PB Alliance Development Board was organized under Section 33, Article 3, Chapter 3 of the Republic Act 7160 or the “The Local Government Code of 1991” as basis for the seven municipalities where the acronym was derived. (Jethrone M. Setenta, MDARRC)