JULY 27, 2013

NR # 3177

Solons move to save endangered rattan industry
Two lawmakers are proposing the creation of the National Rattan Development Program (NRDP) to help boost the country’s beleaguered rattan industry in the country. Rep. Diosdado M. Arroyo (2 nd District, Camarines Sur) said the program is expected to sustainably increase rattan production and improve the competitiveness of its products. Arroyo and his mother, Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2 nd District, Pampanga) filed House Bill 1384, which seeks to establish the Philippine Rattan Development Office (PRDO) to ensure the expedient and effective implementation of the NRDP. The younger Arroyo said about one million Filipinos are employed in the rattan industry in various capacities, mostly as gatherers and workers in the furniture and handicraft sectors. “For many marginalized people living in and on the fringes of the forest, particularly indigenous people, rattan provides an opportunity to earn cash,” Arroyo said. The Bicol solon said rattan has been a source of revenue both for the local and foreign market and added, “Despite the importance of rattan, the Philippines’ rattan industry is in decline.” The NRDP embodies core programs such as the Investment Promotion and Facilitation; Production Support and Extension; Research and Development; Market Promotion and Development; and the program on Infrastructure Development. Under the bill, the PRDO is designated to be the lead agency responsible for strengthening the collaboration of the various rattan industry players and engineering the development of the rattan sector with the objective of reducing poverty and alleviating living conditions at the community level. The measure directs the PRDO to maintain a Philippine Rattan Information Center, which shall principally serve as the museum, library and digital repository of all information pertaining to rattan. The PRDO is likewise mandated to create and maintain its own website that will feature the development of rattan in the Philippines, a periodic update and reports on the rattan project undertaken by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and information focusing on Philippine species of rattan and other relevant market information. (30) mvip