Misor bamboo industry set to takeoff with “engineered bamboo house”

Sep 14, 2014


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The nascent bamboo industry in Misamis Oriental and neighboring areas is set for takeoff with the mass-based production of “engineered bamboo houses” for Sendong victims.


The 6 X 6 model bamboo house (photos courtesy of Axent Resources Corp)


During the modest launching of the model house Wednesday, 10 September 2014 in Cagayan de Oro City, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said the abundance of indigenous bamboo in the region augers well for the future of Sendong survivors who have still to find a permanent settlement three years after the tragedy.


“I like to certainly support the efforts of Mr. Francis Osorio that we have lots of this natural material of bamboo. It’s also symbolic of the Filipino spirit of venturing anywhere but here we’re making it strong material for housing, especially for low-cost housing,” he said.


The cleric also lauded the convergence of the public and private sectors in addressing the issues of housing and livelihood facing Sendong survivors.


“We’d also like to thank the Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other government agencies, including the city government, for supporting this effort. And the ultimate beneficiaries should be the many households and families that are still looking for stable housing areas in Cagayan de Oro. This is also a sign of our solidarity with everyone, and we hope we can all pitch in for helping one another.”


The archdiocese financed the construction of the model house so potential users could see it for themselves.


“The engineered bamboo house was conceptualized because many Sendong victims have not yet been moved to a permanent relocation site,” said Astrid Jose A. Bana, coordinator, ACDO Social Action Center.  


“Those who accessed funds via the Community Mortgage Program (CMP) of the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFc) loan package found the P60, 000 loan too small,” he added.  “Developers say the fund is too small and they cannot build a house for that amount. SHF increased the loan package to P120, 000 but then this raised the issue of affordability because many did not have the income to pay back that amount.”


Francis Osorio, president of Axent Resources Corporation, who headed the multi-disciplinary team that conceptualized the model house, said its design and specifications were engineered by UP’s College of Architecture in coordination with its College of Engineering for the modular design.


Model House


“This model house is only 6 by 6 meters but when you look at it, it is airy and bright because it has many vents to let in light and air,” said Mr. Osorio. “And it is spacious because your walls and ceiling look thinner compared to the usual concrete hollow blocks which make it look stocky.”


The 6 X 6 model bamboo house (photos courtesy of Axent Resources Corp)


The engineered bamboo house comes with concrete foundations and flooring, kitchen sink, basic electrical and plumbing connections, toilet & bath, and septic tank. The 6 x 6 meters (36 square meters) model comes with two (2) bedrooms and costs P120, 000.00 each.


Two smaller models are under development: a 5 x 5 meter (25 square meters,) model with one (1) room costing P90, 000.00 and another of the same size without the room with rafter roofing costing P70, 000.00 specifically designed for those who avail of the DWSD housing assistance in that amount.


The houses will be pre-fabricated as panels in the factory or hub, where the windows, doors, and walls are finished. When they reach the job site, they are assembled in 21 hours and ready for occupancy after two days.


Mr. Osorio said a hub can produce up to 20 6×6 meter houses a week assuming all materials are available. Most of the components will be made by home based operators or nodes. 


An indigenous, renewable construction material


“Because we are using bamboo, it is low priced. It’s not cheap but it’s an excellent raw material and renewable. Even if you continue harvesting it, it continues to grow back,” he noted. “So we have a continuously available source of raw materials. You can grow the bamboo in your backyard where you can easily get raw materials when you need them.”


Mr. Bana said production of the bamboo slats will be handled by the Enterprise Ministry, in cooperation with the DTI.


“This project is a convergence of a livelihood project for the Sendong victims at the same time a low-cost housing for them which is eco-friendly and has a smaller carbon footprint compared to conventional materials since it is renewable,” he noted. “ACDO SAC will handle the marketing which is why we invited the Housing Board and potential home owners. Many Sendong victims have already visited the model house so we are now formally launching it today to answer their queries.”


In reply to the query of Ramon Fernandez, head of the Cagayan de Oro City Housing Board, regarding the house’s weather resistance and durability, Mr. Osorio said the unit uses galvanized metal profiles with a life of 50 years.


Bamboo Advocate Francis Osorio explains the mechanics of the engineered bamboo panel during the 10 Sept 2014 launch of the ‘engineered bamboo house’ in Cagayan de Oro City (photo by Mike Baños, NPN)


“When you combine steel with bamboo you have a very strong and beautiful house,” Mr. Osorio explained. “Steel will give it the form and rigidity, while bamboo will reinforce that rigidity and add beauty. Posts are made of angle bars and square tubes, so you have virtually 3 posts which reinforce each other making it very strong.”


Stronger than wood, brick or concrete and rivals steel


Bamboo has a higher compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete and a tensile strength that rivals steel (Roach, 1996; Rottke, 2002). Like true wood, it’s a natural composite material with a high strength-to-weight ratio ideal for structures (Lakkad; Patel,1981).


“Its outer skin makes it weather resistant and commercial finishing coatings like polyurethane can extend its life even longer,” Mr. Osorio said. “The bamboo sticks core is removed since it is the soft part. The sticks are then glued together to make a very strong and rigid but very light material. It’s stronger than Hardiflex and plywood and we can use it as a raw material to make your doors, windows and roofs. The material processing for this can be done at the node or household level.”


Unlike Chinese engineered bamboo technology which excises the skin and core of the bamboo culms and then laminates them together in sheets (a manufacturing process which requires a big capital investment), local engineered bamboo is home-based.


A Social Enterprise


“If it is the households themselves who produce the bamboo components at home, they will have a livelihood of their own,” Mr. Osorio said. “So this would also help us address our unemployment problem since our households would become productive and our people would not have to travel all over the world to find a job.”


Osorio bills his company, Axent Resources Corporation, as a social enterprise and center for home-based productivity. “We develop technologies that can be operated in the households making the home a productive center,” he said. “We have carpentry, coconut shell charcoal, charcoal briquettes, and of course, bamboo processing.”


Axent is one of the bamboo hubs assisted by the DTI through the Bamboo Industry Development Board.


“DTI 10’s involvement in the bamboo industry started with Executive Order 879 creating the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Board and mandating the Department of Education to allocate at least 20 percent of its PhP700-million annual budget for school desks to purchase bamboo desks, chairs and furniture,” said Linda O. Boniao, Officer-in-Charge of DTI-10. “However, so far DepEd’s compliance has been slow due to the price of the finished product.”

In compliance with EO 879, DTI 10 organized the Regional Bamboo Industry Development Council (RBIDC) in the 1st quarter of 2012 with DTI as chairman and the private sector as the vice chair.


Climate Change & Disaster Risk Mitigation, Poverty Alleviation

Nationwide, DTI’s framework supports the bamboo industry three-fold: 1. Climate Change Mitigation, as bamboo captures carbon dioxide for its food and emits oxygen to give us clean fresh air and forest cover; 2. Disaster Risk Mitigation, since it helps prevent soil erosion both in the mountains and rivers; and, 3. Poverty Alleviation as it can be used for food (bamboo shoots) and livelihood.


Bamboo armchair

“In 2012, our regional focus was on production, propagation, profiling and mapping of bamboo production areas. We started to produce prototype chairs for DepEd but we knew that if we went on full swing, we would be short of raw materials,” Ms. Boniao said. “Last year, we stepped up our trainings to selection, harvesting and treatment of bamboo. We also prioritized bamboo nodes and hubs in our Shared Services Facility Program (SSF).

“Nodes are primary processors located near plantation sites. SSFs in CdO barangays are all nodes. Their enterprise is to cut the bamboo culms into 5 foot lengths, remove the inner core, slice into 2 inches and carbonize to kill the source of bokbok and deliver the slats to the hub. Mr. Osorio’s plant in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental is the hub supporting the SSF project. Other hubs are in Iligan City, Camiguin and Bukidnon.”

“Given the price difference between producing chairs and engineered bamboo, we advocate for the latter as it has more premium in price, more sustainable demand and wider applications. This is also a good livelihood for our Conditional Cash Transfer beneficiaries.”


As of  2013, there were nine (9) approved SSFs in the province, eight primary processing or nodes and one hub with an aggregate assistance of P3.48-million. A node is the facility for the primary processing of bamboo, producing sticks or slats which are then brought to the hub for the production of various engineered bamboo products.


The eight nodes are found in Barangays Balubal; Bayanga, Dansolihon; FS Catanico; Tagpangi, Cagayan de Oro City; and in Cabalawan, Bgy. Mintabon, Talisayan; Claveria, and Lapad, Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental. An additional node in Ugiaban, Dansolihon, Cagayan de Oro and hub in Talisayan, Misamis Oriental have been approved for 2014 with a total amount of  P1.29-million.


Machines and equipment procured by DTI under the SSF project remain its property but are used by industry players who qualify as cooperators. A cooperator must be an association or any organization with legal personality and operating for at least 3 years. LGUs are qualified cooperators for 2014.


For inquiries, please contact: Social Action Center, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, landline no. (88) 880-011 or any of the following: Fr. Nathaniel Lerio (0917- 719-5626), Mr. Astrid Bana (0917-704-2960) or Mr. Francis Osorio (0918-912-6037).  You can also email inquiries to adextra_saccdo@yahoo.com.ph orastrid_bana@yahoo.com.


-I N D N J C-

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