(Iloilo City) – The collaboration of the government, private sector and civil society took a concrete shape when all the partners signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) to establish a 50-hectare communal bamboo plantation in Ibajay, Aklan on November 24, 2020.
The signatories to the MOA are the following agencies: Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Aklan, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office VI, Aklan Sand and Gravel (SAG) Operators Association, Inc., the provincial government of Aklan and Peace Agreement Interbarangay Project Organization (PAIPO), a people’s organization.
One of the major campaigns of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu is to establish more bamboo plantations in the country because of the environmental benefits it provides while tapping the potential of the bamboo industry as a source of investment and income for Filipinos.
This year, Secretary Cimatu mandated mining companies and permit holders to allocate 20% of their final mining area for bamboo plantation in the memorandum orders he issued in June and July. In region 6, the Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committees (MRFCs) of the six provinces tackled the DENR mandate. The MRFC is composed of the DENR (PENRO), the provincial government, mining companies and non-government organizations in the respective provinces.
PENRO Aklan proposed two sites, IBajay and Libacao, for the bamboo plantation of 50-hectare each. According to MGB VI Officer-In-Charge of the office of the regional director Raul A. Laput, “the proposal of PENRO Aklan on the two plantation sites was very timely as the mines sector is looking for areas where they could establish a bamboo plantation in response to the DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu’s order.”
The 50-hectare site in Ibajay, Aklan was adopted by the Aklan SAG Quarry Operators Association, Inc. representing the mines sector in collaboration with the DENR, MGB, provincial government of Aklan and civil society represented by the Peace Agreement Interbarangay Project Organization (PAIPO).
DENR, PENRO Aklan will provide 10,200 seedlings of giant bamboo, while the Aklan SAG Quarry Operators Association, Inc. will provide the budgetary requirement for the establishment and maintenance of the communal bamboo plantation for three years. The government under the mining law requires permit holders in the mining sector to put up an environmental guarantee fund to implement environmental projects outlined in their environmental compliance certificate (ECC) and annual environmental and enhancement program (EPEP). The Mine rehabilitation Fund Committee (MRFC) manages the use of this environmental guarantee fund. This will now be used to fund the communal bamboo plantation to ensure that the bamboo trees will grow in the next three years.
The people’s organization (PAIPO), a long-time partner of the DENR in its reforestation projects will take charge of planting, maintaining and protecting the communal bamboo plantation. The project is expected to provide livelihood assistance as well to PAIPO who will equally share the benefits derived from the project. The SAG and quarry permit holders association of Aklan allocated a total of P965, 000.00 for the project term of three years.
The MOA spelled out the roles and responsibilities of each collaborating office and organization. (MGBVI, DENR)