MANILA — Voting 282-0-0, the House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading House Bill 7941 or the proposed "Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act."
"There is a lot of potential in the local bamboo industry. Currently, we are the fifth largest bamboo exporter in the world. With smart planning and malasakit especially to our bamboo planters, the Philippine bamboo industry could be a behemoth a few years down the road," Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement.
The Speaker's office explained that House Bill (HB) No. 7941 aims to achieve such development by strengthening the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council.
It also said that according to the measure, the State shall recognize the strategic importance of the bamboo as a sturdy, versatile, and replenishable material that can be a sustainable source of livelihood and catalyst for agricultural productivity.
"The State shall likewise ensure the integrated and continuous development of the Philippine bamboo industry through policies and programs that encourage the planting of bamboo, accelerate the development of bamboo-based products and designs, and promote Philippine bamboo products in international markets," HB No. 7941 read.
The bill tasks the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council to create the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Program, which shall include plans of actions and projects for the scientific propagation, development and management, processing, utilization, business development, and commercialization of Philippine bamboo and bamboo products, through the cooperation of all stakeholders of the industry.
The bill also creates the Bamboo Industry Research and Development Center, to serve as the secretariat of the Council.
HB 7941 also enumerates incentives for bamboo plantation development such as : a) exemption from the payment of rent for the use of government lands for commercial bamboo plantation for the first five (5) years of operation reckoned from the date of the first harvest of the plantation; b) In the case of private plantations, exemption from the requirement to secure a cutting permit for the harvesting of bamboo and a transport permit for as long as the plantation is registered with the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); and c) exemption from the payment of forest charges and other fees for taxes that LGUs may impose.
The House will submit the bill to the Senate for action.