Bamboo gets funds, new role to play in Alaminos project

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ALAMINOS CITY—Officials here are gearing for the full operation of a factory manufacturing bamboo furniture, tiles and building materials after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) infused a P31-million grant to bankroll the Hundred Islands Engineered Kawayan (HI e-Kawayan) project.

Mayor Hernani Braganza said the city government asked Pagcor for funds for the expansion of the processing facility of the HI e-Kawayan project, a technology developed by  Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac City in Ilocos Norte.

The technology transforms bamboo poles into different shapes and sizes that can be used as alternative to wood in building desks, beds, armchairs, tables and other items.

Pacgcor chair and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said through the project, Pangasinan residents will be given better livelihood opportunities.

“That is Pagcor’s ultimate goal—to help improve the lives of our countrymen and to make them productive citizens of their communities,” Naguiat said in a statement.

A groundbreaking for a bigger and more modern e-Kawayan factory was held on March 28 at  Maria Valdez Cornelio Techno-Demo Farm in Barangay Tangcarang here.

Local officials said it would be the first fully functional factory dedicated to bamboo furniture production in the Ilocos region.

“E-Kawayan is a very simple and practical technology. With it, we can modernize the existing bamboo cottage industry. We are adding value in terms of improving … the quality of bamboo furniture,” Braganza said.

He said bamboo craft is an integral part of the economic life of western Pangasinan and the intention of the e-Kawayan project is to modernize the industry.

The city government has built a single-story building in Barangay Bolaney here to house the equipment that Alaminos bought from MMSU.

The P31-million grant from Pagcor will be used for building a factory (P7 million), equipment modernization (P8 million), human resource development (P6.5 million), bamboo nursery establishment (P250,000), bamboo plantation (P3.25 million) and tissue culture laboratory establishment (P6 million).

The e-Kawayan technology, Braganza said, hopes to help save trees. “This is because bamboo, which grows easily, will be used instead of lumber as construction and furniture materials, sparing trees from being cut,” he said. Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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