The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Lake Sebu Upland Development Association (LaSUDA) for the establishment of a charcoal briquetting facility on April 12, 2018 at Brgy. Lamlahak, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. The MOA was sealed as part of the Bureau’s aim to eradicate Piper aduncum L. or commonly known as buyo-buyo within the Allah Valley Protected Landscape (AVPL) in Lake Sebu by utilizing it as a raw material in the production of charcoal briquettes which will provide a sustainable source of income for the members of LaSUDA.

Charcoal briquetting is one of the developed and promoted technologies related to environmental and biodiversity conservation of ERDB. It is a versatile technology in terms of utilizing organic raw materials which are carbonized and compacted to produce charcoal briquettes.

ERDB Director Henry A. Adornado was thankful that LASUDA accepted the project which will provide a sustainable livelihood option among its members. In his message, he encouraged all the members to actively participate in the project because they will greatly benefit from it. “I am requesting a whole cooperation. The MOA signing is just the beginning of our strong partnership towards collaboration for other projects in the future,” Director Adornado said. He also commended the valuable support of the Barangay Council of Lamlahak under the leadership of Hon. Gabriel K. Untang.

The ERDB through the Laboratory and Experimental Services Division (LESD) and the Mining and Degraded Areas Rehabilitation Research Center (MDARRC) will provide members of LaSUDA technical assistance in the form of capacity-building activities and consultations in the operation of charcoal briquetting equipment. A complete set of equipment for charcoal briquetting was already provided by ERDB last year for the members to gain an initial foothold on the technology.

LaSUDA, on the other hand, is expected to completely adopt the technology by sustaining the operation of the facility and utilizing buyo-buyo as the primary raw material in the production of charcoal briquettes.

In his message of support, LaSUDA Chairman Renato K. Untang appreciated ERDB’s effort to consider the organization as project partner. He committed full support and cooperation and assured the sustainability of the project. He encouraged his members to join hands in providing assistance to ERDB in this undertaking especially in the development and management of the environment and natural resources as well as in the improvement of the socioeconomic condition of its members and the community. “We have been longing for project like this for the community and we thank ERDB for this alternative livelihood project. The wait is over," he tearfully said.

Director Henry A. Adornado represented ERDB while LaSUDA was represented by Chairman Renato K. Untang. Also present during the MOA signing and served as witnesses were Brgy. Captain Gabriel K. Untang of Brgy. Lamlahak, Dr. Marilyn Q. Landicho of ERDB- LESD, MDARRC Center Head Alma S. Uddin, MDARRC Region 12 Station Head Vilma Flauta-Nitura and Forester Amanda Reyes who represented the Office of the Protected Area Superintendent (PASu) of AVPL.

Training on charcoal briquetting technology is scheduled on May 2018 to capacitate members of LaSUDA in the production techniques and equipment operation. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in South Cotabato will be invited to provide assistance on product development and marketing. Jethrone M. Setenta, MDARRC