20 locals complete bamboo training, form livelihood group
Over twenty community members are joined by the organizers and officials from Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation, Life, Earth and other Systems Solutions Company, Inc., and the Local Government Unit of Cantilan during the 3-day training on Proper Bamboo Plantation Establishment and Management.
CARRASCAL, Surigao del Sur -- When told to attend a bamboo-based livelihood training sponsored by Marcventures Mining and Development Corporation (MMDC), housewife Helen Custoya immediately signed up for the opportunity.
"I thought I would land a job planting bamboos after the training," Helen, a mother of five, gave a hearty laugh, apparently feeling amused and at the same time grateful upon realizing that she got more than what she signed up for.
Helen, 41, is one of 20 residents of Sitio Pili, Brgy. Panikian, in this town who completed the three-day training on Proper Bamboo Plantation Establishment and Management on July 4 to 6, 2018.
The training is part of MMDC’s 5-year Bamboo Plantation Development Program, primarily geared at creating a bamboo-based industry that will benefit mining communities.
Jose Dagala Jr., MMDC Assistant Vice President for Social Commitments, said the 20 participants who completed the training has been organized into a livelihood association that will manage the 10-hectare model bamboo plantation.
"The association will then employ the tools and skills they have obtained from training and technical assistance provided by Marcventures to produce bamboo-based products, and earn," Dagala said.
Facilitated by Life, Earth and other Systems Solutions Company, Inc., the three-day training at the MMDC campsite consisted of lectures and field demonstration on proper bamboo-planting, intervention, as well as action planning.
More than the knowledge and skills obtained from the training, Helen was elected president of the Pili Kawajan Association (PKJ), whose members will further get training on actual bamboo production for products such as sticks, amakan, and furniture.
Helen vowed to rally her members for the PKJ to succeed.
"My co-members and I will work hard to sustain this project. After all, we will be the ones who will benefit and our earnings can greatly help complement the incomes of our husbands," she said.
Dagala said the bamboo production training is slated in August, and another one will be held in September or early October to provide the association the necessary knowledge and skills on manufacturing.
"Things are moving as planned. First we organize them and teach them how plan and establish a bamboo plantation, then we conduct skills training for them to effectively manage their business and generate profits," Dagala noted.
For her part, Helen described the first phase of the bamboo training as "enlightening," saying only then she realized the essential environmental functions of bamboos.
"Bamboos help prevent landslides because of its strong roots hold the soil firmly during rainy days. I've never known the enormous economic and environmental benefits of bamboos before the training," the PKJ president noted.
The development of bamboo as a major component of Marcventures’ rehabilitation efforts and of community-based enterprise initiatives is a personal advocacy of Marcventures Holdings, Inc. (MHI) President Isidro C. Alcantara, Jr. – one that he has been encouraging for two years now. He believes bamboo can help foster community development and at the same time achieve the company's shared environmental sustainability goals with the community.
The completion of the bamboo training and the formation of the PKJ are positive developments towards the realization of Mr. Alcantara’s vision for Marcventures as a leading bamboo advocate in the Philippine mining industry.
To date, MMDC has planted a total of 17,494 bamboos within a 17-hectare mined out area. The company has initially allocated a total of 45 hectares for its bamboo-based rehabilitation program.
MMDC is currently involved in strengthening links with local government units, government agencies and community organizations to boost its bamboo-based industry program.