Wednesday, October 3, 2012


MANILA, October 3, 2012-Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan urges the government to provide the country's farmers with the necessary technology and support to boost the Philippines' bamboo industry export output. The global demand is currently greater than the supply, and is expected to grow higher in the coming years.

“The global demand for bamboo is now at $10 billion. One would think that we should be among the top exporters of this 'wonder plant', but 69 percent of our bamboo exports come from natural stands in the forests. We must encourage our farmers to engage in bamboo cultivation to boost our output.”

Pangilinan, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, says that the government must cultivate and leverage the country's natural resources as a means of generating jobs and incomes to Filipinos.

China is currently the world's leading exporter of bamboo, with a 50 percent market share. The Philippines ranks sixth.

“We are doing so little with our natural bounty. Here we have global demand for bamboo, which grows well in our soil and climate, yet we are yet again ill-prepared to meet market needs when this industry could very well provide good jobs for our people. We need not reinvent the wheel, so to speak, in coming up with solutions to give our people jobs and increase their incomes. We could very well be sitting on a gold mine, but we need to act fast and act smart to take advantage of the opportunities.”

Pangilinan says that the committee will look into next steps and proposals to boost the sector's growth and sustainability.

“Fight floods through community action” – Legarda

MANILA, October 3, 2012-In light of the heavy rains brought about by Typhoon Marce, Senator Loren Legarda today reminded local communities that they are the first line of defense against widespread flooding in Metro Manila, and urged the heightened implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

“Heavy rainfall does not need to result in the extreme inconveniences we experience today. Communities, made up of vigilant and proactive individuals, can and should implement the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 to collectively build the country’s resilience to the devastating effects of climate change,” she said.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and author of the said law, noted that the monsoon rains last August submerged 80% of Metro Manila in floodwater, leaving 92 dead and more than half a million Filipinos displaced, a disaster that should not happen again.

“No amount of infrastructure will be able to solve this problem if we do not comply with our environmental laws. What we need to do is to alter the mindset of our people, step by step, barangay by barangay. We need to have information campaigns to increase awareness about what each and every Filipino can do. Waste segregation facilities, cleanup drives, and recycling centers are easy to set up and maintain,” she explained.

The Senator, also the UN Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, added that the new People's Survival Fund (PSF) law has been passed, giving better access to resources for those who combat the effects of climate change, especially in the grassroots.

“Through the PSF, barangays and LGUs will be better equipped to bring into fruition climate change strategies, especially for flood prevention and mitigation, within the context of community-based realities,” she concluded.

Early 2013 budget approval, assured

MANILA, October 3, 2012-Senator Franklin M. Drilon today said the Senate remains committed to passing the proposed P2.006-trillion 2013 national budget before the year ends as the Committee of Finance will be wrapping up its hearings on the individual budgets of departments in the next two weeks.

The committee’s chairman also said he expects the House of Representatives will submit its version of the proposed budget to the Senate before Congress takes a short break in the third week of October.

His committee, likewise, will formally submit the 2013 budget for the Senate floor deliberations by the second week of November.

“The budget is the most important piece of legislation the Congress is duty-bound to pass on time. Even if there are still pending measures such as the Sin Tax bill, the budget will not be put aside,” stressed Drilon.

“We will not allow any delay in the approval of the budget. We are committed to pass the budget on time in order to enable the government to implement its crucial projects and programs especially infrastructure at the start of the year to take advantage of good weather in the early months,” said Drilon.

“A delayed budget approval translates to a delayed service for the people, especially the poor and marginalized sector in the society,” he added.

“We plan to submit the budget to the President by the second week of December,” he noted.

So far, Drilon said, the committee was able to hear the proposed budgets of all key departments except for the Departments of Transportation and Communication, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Energy.

Likewise, he said the Committee has approved and will submit all the budgets of the departments they have already heard except for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Commission on Elections, and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority whose budgets are yet to be approved. 


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