The private sector has urged the government to grant tax incentives to miners who will invest in large-scale bamboo plantations as these projects will help boost watershed conservation, reduce the risk of natural disasters and generate as much as $3 billion in long-term revenue.
Bamboo propagation and mining sector advocates from the Junction Ridge Resources Development Corp.(JRRDC) and the Kilusang 5K (Kawayan:Kalikasan, Kabuhayan, Kaunlaran, Kinabukasan) said bamboo planting will be “the best antidote” to criticisms against mining activities.
Banker and mining leader Isidro C. Alcantara Jr. of JRRDC said bamboo plantations in mining areas can generate huge revenues that can approximate earnings from gold, copper, and nickel.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported in November 2020 that the mining and quarrying sector generated revenues of P189.9 billion ($3.45 billion).
“To understand why we should concentrate on bamboo, it can generate $3 billion or 10 percent of China’s (bamboo revenue). It can equal the mining industry’s output of gold, copper, and nickel,” said Isidro during the 5K Foundation Inc.’s forum dubbed “Usapang Kawayan.”
Isidro was chairman of Marcventures Holdings Inc. (Marcventures Mining parent firm) prior to his retirement. Its mining operation in Surigao del Sur has so far grown 30,875 bamboo plants in the area, pioneering the effort in the industry.
“This is doable. We have so much land where we can set up large-scale bamboo plantations,” said Isidro.
Kilusang 5K Foundation Chairman Deogracias Victor B. Savellano also said during the forum that bamboo is one of the best crops for land restoration.
Bamboo plants are the best tools for fighting climate change as it releases 35 percent more oxygen than other trees. It sequesters 12 metric tons of carbon per hectare annually, he said.
“Bamboo is one of the best crops for land restoration especially in mined-out areas,” said Savellano.
“Bamboo planting in mining areas has been required by DENR since 2020 to plant bamboo to 20 percent of their declared mining area.”