DENR, Surallah sign MOA on bamboo gene bank

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 September) — In a bid to enhance Region 12’s thriving bamboo industry, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is pushing for the establishment of a regional bambusetum in Surallah town in South Cotabato.

Dr. Bighani Manipula, DENR-12’s regional technical director for research, said they have signed a memorandum of agreement with the local government of Surallah for the joint development starting this year of the bambusetum, which will house living collections of various bamboo species.

He said the bambusetum, which is mainly a gene bank conservation area for various bamboo species, will serve as the agency’s research and demonstration base for bamboo in the region.

It will be established within the periphery of the six-hectare cluster sanitary landfill operated by the local government of Surallah in Barangay Colongulo, he said.

“This project will have a significant role in terms of the transfer of applicable environment and natural resources technologies to industry stakeholders and adaptors,” Manipula said.

Under the agreement, DENR 12 and the municipal government of Surallah will engage in collaborative works and provide administrative support for the establishment and maintenance of the bambusetum.

The agreement was signed by DENR-12 regional executive director Datu Tungko Saikol and Surallah Mayor Antonio Bendita.

Saikol said that once fully established, the bambusetum will serve as a center for bamboo genetic resource exchange and eventually a source of planting materials in the region.

“We’re looking at developing the facility as a venue and learning site in spreading knowledge as well as increasing people’s awareness and interest on bamboo conservation, propagation and utilization,” he said.

As set in the agreement, Manipula said the DENR will be responsible for the collection and planting of the bamboo seedlings at the site.

“We’re targeting to collect and plant a total of 200 species of bamboo, both endemic and exotic, within a two-year period starting this year,” he said.

The official said the DENR central office has allocated an initial funding of P100,000 for the project while the Surallah municipal government committed to provide an additional P100,000 as counterpart.

“The site will be landscaped and may be adopted by the local government of Surallah later on as an economic enterprise. Its revenues may be generated from the entrance fees and the sale of planting materials,” he said. (MindaNews)