Deal seeks to scale up use of bamboo
JENICA FAYE GARCIA
The Manila Times
THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and CUBO Modular signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday to scale up the use of bamboo in local home construction. Trade Undersecretary and Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) Executive Committee Chairperson Blesila Lantayona said that the MoU aims to tap CUBO Modular’s expertise for the construction of homes using bamboo. The MoU was executed during the Philippine Bamboo Month event at the DTI National Capital Region Office-Center for Innovation and Technology for Enterprises in Marikina. Under the MoU, DTI and CUBO Modular will also organize an annual bamboo furniture design competition, provide training and employment for Filipino bamboo carpenters, export locally-engineered bamboo housing products, and connect with a global network of women-led businesses through SheTrades Philippines Hub to boost Filipino women’s international competitiveness in business. “The MoU signifies a powerful synergy between a national government agency and a pioneering corporation, both driven by a common vision, which is to catalyze the local engineered bamboo ecosystem and uplift communities throughout the Philippines,” Lantayona said. This was echoed by CUBO Modular Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Earl Forlales, who said that there is interest in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and South Korea to buy homes made from bamboo from them. “Bamboo is by far the most sustainable building material right now,” he said. CUBO Modular is a Filipino company that started operations in 2019 and is a pioneer in combining modular design, renewable materials, rapid manufacturing and assembly, and local craftsmanship for its homes made from bamboo. In the same event, the PBIDC unveiled its new shared service facility that will boost its central operational base for developing bamboo products. DTI also said that the office refurbishing and operational expenses for the central operational base were funded by the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport), led by its President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. The Philexport president was also present during the event, which was also attended by Sen. Cynthia Villar, Agriculture Undersecretary Deogracias Victor Savellano, DTI National Capital Region officer in charge Director Ma. Sofia Narag, and DTI Region 2 Director Leah Pulido Ocampo, among others. To recall, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual stated in June the need for a whole-of-government approach to improve the country’s bamboo industry. According to DTI, the country’s bamboo product exports increased from $730,000 in 2016 to $930,000 in 2022. Meanwhile, the average annual investment in the industry is P108 million for the same seven-year period. Job generation for the industry has more than doubled to 10,898 in 2022 from 4,222 in 2016. Meanwhile, micro, small and medium enterprises involvement in the bamboo industry also increased to 5,012 in 2022 from 725 in 2016.