DENR, Maguindanao LGU to plant bamboos on riversides to prevent floods PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 08 August 2014 11:18

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Maguindanao’s provincial government have started campaigning for massive planting of bamboos on the banks of rivers in the province that overflow and inundate riverside enclaves during rainy days.

The purpose of planting bamboos along the rivers criss-crossing Maguindanao is to prevent perennial flooding in its lowlands and the scouring of riverbanks and surroundings of swamps that connect to the nearby 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta.

Bamboos, of the Bambuseae tall grass specie, have deep penetrating roots that can suck and store rain water and, in effect, prevent erosion and flooding during the rainy season.

Forester Kahal Kedtag, regional DENR secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said thick bamboo foliages are also natural habitats for wild animals and insects that prey on harmful farm pests.

Kedtag said they now have thousands of bamboo seedlings in a nursery in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, ready for distribution to farmers in riverside agricultural enclaves. He said the massive planting of bamboos along rivers in Maguindanao is a priority program of the present ARMM administration.

“It can help protect the banks of the rivers from erosion and, at the same time, provide thick foliage as protective cover for open fields that are prone to erosion which floods and strong winds can cause,” Kedtag said.

Kedtag said their efforts are being complemented by the office of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, which is also advocating for planting of bamboos along rivers, aside from its continuing dispersal of free rubber and oil palm seedlings to Moro, Christian and indigenous Lumad farmers in the province.

Kedtag said propagation of rubber trees is a good “re-greening process” for areas ravaged by highland corn farmers using “slash-and-burn” farming technique.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, in an emailed statement, said the provincial government is keen on dredging heavily-silted rivers with a modern mechanized dredger, which they intend to procure through a bank loan, and on planting of bamboos and Vetiver grass on riverbanks to ensure the efficiency of their flood control efforts.

The Vetiver grass (Chrysopogon Zizanioides) grows thickly and has roots that can penetrate as deep as three meters, from ground surface down, that can durably bind soil, rocks, and gravel formations together.

Maguindanao residents have repeatedly experienced in recent months the worst flashfloods in the province, spawned by heavy rains that caused the Liguasan Delta to overflow and inundate dozens of barangays in the province.

Most of the frequently flooded rivers in Maguindanao are tributaries of the now shallow, silted Rio Grande de Mindanao — the downspout of watershed streams and brooks flowing downstream from hinterlands in Bukidnon, North Cotabato, Maguindanao and South Cotabato —  that drains at the Moro Gulf in the west coast of Cotabato City.

“Bamboo farming can also provide our farmers with extra income. A bamboo tree, in fact, is also called ‘tree of life,’ just like the coconut tree, because of its many uses in engineering works. Bamboo farms are also sources of young bamboo shoots that are edible and nutritious,” Mangudadatu said.

Planting of bamboos along rivers and in surroundings of marshes in Central Mindanao was pioneered by the rank-and-file personnel of the Army’s 602nd Brigade which is based in Carmen town in North Cotabato.

Units of the 602nd Brigade, led by its commander, Col. Alan Arrojado, started planting bamboo seedlings in low-lying areas near the Liguasan Delta early this year in support of the Philippine Army and DENR’s environmental protection thrusts.