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As a measure to rehabilitate the Bicol River Basin, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - Bicol Region led the planting of some 49,509 Bamboo (Bambusa blumeana) culms for riverbank stabilization in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Catanduanes on February 9 to 12, 2021.

DENR Assistant Secretary for Field Operations in Southern Luzon, Engr. Gilbert C. Gonzales led the Bamboo planting at Barangay Balinad, Polangui, Albay, which was participated in by representatives of the various government agencies.

“This is just the beginning of a continuing collective endeavor. With the support from almost all national agencies and the local government units or LGUs, we can abate the effects of destruction in our communities,” said Asec Gonzales.

DENR Bicol OIC, Regional Executive Director Atty. Antonio A. Abawag and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Arnel B. Garcia signed a memorandum of agreement on January 22, 2021. This is to strengthen the initiatives under the Executive Order 120 or the “Strengthening Rehabilitation and Recovery Efforts in Typhoon-Hit Areas Through the Creation of the Build Back Better (BBB) Task Force”.

Some 551 local residents were hired to plant the bamboo culms in the towns of Bula, Lupi and Sipocot in Camarines Sur, San Lorenzo Ruiz and Basud in Camarines Norte, Polangui and Guinobatan in Albay and San Andres in Catanduanes. In turn, they received food packs under the Food-for-Work Program of the DSWD.

Mayor Peter C. Cua of San Andres, Catanduanes has assured the DENR the full support of the LGU to the stabilization program. “We should care for the protection and management of our watershed to maintain its cleanliness for us to continue to enjoy a clean supply of water not just today but for the future to come,” Mayor Cua said.

Meanwhile, Bula town Mayor Amelita A. Ibasco expressed her gratitude to the DENR for choosing their town as a site for the activity. “This bamboo planting will greatly help our rivers, especially when there are typhoons which causes flooding in our communities,” she added.

The Regional BBB Task Force has earlier announced that various activities are underway under the different Key Result Areas of EO 120.

“With the concerted effort of all national government agencies, LGUs and the communities, we are hopeful that this Build Back Better Project will bring a significant impact to our fellow Bicolanos,” said RED Abawag.