CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Advocacy for the Development of Central Luzon (ADCL) is urging congressmen and governors of Central Luzon to join in propagating bamboo and developing it into a market industry.

Romero, in a meeting with members of the Provincial Bamboo Development Council, Department of Trade and Industry, Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry and local crafts and furniture representatives here over the weekend said there is an urgent need to involve government officials like congressmen in the project, as they are in the best position to outsource funds to finance the business plans for local livelihood development for the people.

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Romero also said that sustainability of the bamboo development projects would be ensured if government officials, the private sector and the community will join hands in the development of bamboo groves.

He said the first step in the development of bamboo is that farmers engage in propagule (bamboo seed) propagation as the development of bamboo into engineered products, crafts and furniture depend on the supply of bamboo in the market.

"Government officials have the best access to government help that would be beneficial in the success of the project. More people will benefit from the emerging industry from bamboo if government could recognize the potential this early on," Romero said.

Romero said officials in Pampanga and Central Luzon should take the lead from Pampanga Governor Lilia "Nanay Baby" Pineda, who has already institutionalized the bamboo development program of the province through the reconstitution of the Pampanga Bamboo Development Council (PBDC).

Romero said the Pampanga business model for the development of bamboo may be implemented on a grander scale in a per-district basis through the help of congressmen who could provide instant livelihood to local farmers who can use idle lands, dike slopes or river barriers for the planting of bamboo.

"It also provides more livelihood opportunities, can be a good source of income for farmers and can also help in disaster risk management," Romero said.

Romero said bamboo is a good source of revenue as it is used as raw material and even for the construction of school desks.

Recently, Executive Order 879 of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the Department of Education (DepEd) to use bamboo to the equivalent of at least 20 percent of the annual school desks and other furniture requirements of all public elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

Dubbed the "School Desk project," it aims to tap the school desk requirement of DepEd as ready market for established hubs.

Romero said he is set to open the proposal to urge more government officials to join in the project in the upcoming Regional Development Council meeting this week. (Ian Ocampo Flora)