The province of Samar, albeit abundant in natural resources teeming with wonders such as caves, falls, and river systems, remains disadvantaged and named as one of the poorest provinces in the country. It has vast amount of water but ironically, many of its people are still mired in poverty and for years are struggling with supplies of potable water. These are the sentiments of Samar’s top officials, Governor Sharee Ann Tan who is musing over why progress in Samar has been so slow compared to smaller provinces in the country whose economies are expanding.

Challenged by the plight of her province, the governor consulted Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu for assistance in the wise utilization of natural resources that will economically benefit the people in Samar. As a result, a consultative meeting between Governor Tan and Dr. Lustica was held last October 11, 2017 in Catbalogan City, Samar. The discussion mainly focused on the status of Samar’s project proposal on Bamboo Plantation and Development Project. She stressed the need for technical experts from research institutions like ERDB, hence Dr. Lustica assured the local official that BCWERC and ERDB will review the packaged proposal.

Bamboo plantation establishment convincingly came into the picture. Ed Manda, a bamboo guru whom the governor also had met, pledged to help. Gov. Tan was assured that the province has all it takes to gain from the immense environmental and economic benefits of bamboo. Dr, Lustica confirmed that the project should be taken seriously because it is a total win-win undertaking.

Samar has so much to offer. The group also discussed the envisioned ecotourism projects in the province. Gov. Tan believed that even if Samar is susceptible to typhoon, landslides, as well as flooding, has also a great potential for ecotourism. Ann F. Jumawan, BCWERC