The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau conducted a three-day assessment of the BPDP being implemented by DENR of the Visayas Cluster (Regions 6,7 & 8) held at Seda Hotel, Iloilo City last October 24-26, 2017. The event was well participated in by representatives from the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC), different Regional Offices (ROs), Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Offices (PENROs), Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENROs), and the partner stakeholders for the National Greening Program-Bamboo Plantation Development Project (NGP-BPDP), the People’s Organizations (POs), and Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUs).

Dr. Jim O Sampulna, CESO III, Regional Director of the DENR Region 6 gave the welcome remarks. He commended the Bureau (ERDB) for initiating the conduct of the bamboo project assessment and the people behind the pursuit. RD Sampulna said, “The Bureau is first to instigate such endeavor for CY 2017.” He stated that the DENR Western Visayas is very complacent as to their accomplishment because they already achieved 100% completion of their target as of his speaking engagement for the event.

For and in behalf of the ERDB, Director Henry A. Adornado, opening message was given by Angelito B. Exconde, Chief, AFMD-ERDB while for the Assistant Secretary for Field Operations, inspirational message was given by Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, Center Head of the BCWERC. Dr. Lustica emphasized that parallel to the importance of having an assessment; capacitation of the personnel involved is likewise looked into to attain what is being aspired for in a project. The objectives of the workshop were presented by Dr. Aida B. Lapis. A topic on bamboo innovations was delivered by Forester Gregorio E. Santos, Jr. He encouraged everyone to seriously and dedicatedly implement the project and aim to vitalize bamboo industry in the Philippines and even to surpass China, the number 1 bamboo exporting country.

Issues and concerns were tackled, discussed, and resolution determination with the provision of the technical expertise from the commentators/observers from ERDB namely: Dr. Bighani M. Manipula, Angelito B. Exconde, Dr. Alicia L. Lustica, Dr. Aida B. Lapis, and Dr. Felizardo D. Virtucio.

To give weight and further persuade the implementers and partner stakeholders to embrace the project (BPDP) being implemented, an exposure trip to the different sites (bamboo plantation, bamboo processing plant, bamboo craft-making and end products) were visited. The participants had the privilege to acquire first-hand knowledge as Hon. Mariano M. Malones, Municipal Mayor of Maasin, Iloilo shared their practices in being engaged in the bamboo industry. Mayor Malones even offered to vend some of his equipment to whoever is interested in the same pursuit as he affirmed that there is a huge demand for bamboo in the country while its production is very deficient.

Moreover, action plans were presented with high hopes to deliver with the degree of satisfaction in terms of the project execution/realization. C.V. Rallos, BCWERC