Brick industry from Pulangi’s silts, others pushed for social enterprise

Emmanuel Alkuino, member of the board of regents of Central Mindanao University presents samples of bricks made from silts from Pulangi River. Alkuino spoke during the Strictly Business News Conference last  week to promote the 1st Mindanao Social Business Summit from June 4 to 6, 2014 at CMU| Bukidnon News

Emmanuel Alkuino, member of the board of regents of Central Mindanao University presents samples of bricks made from silts from Pulangi River. Alkuino spoke during the Strictly Business News Conference last week to promote the 1st Mindanao Social Business Summit from June 4 to 6, 2014 at CMU| Bukidnon News

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/03 May) From the streams in Mt. Kitanglad to the Pulangi River leading to the Pulangi dam there is a serious siltation problem in Bukidnon, said Emmanuel Alkuino, a member of the board of regents of Central Mindanao University.

But if there is a problem, social enterprise can find a solution to address it Alkuino told the Strictly Business News Conference last week in promoting the 1st Mindanao Social Business Summit on June 4-6 at Central Mindanao University.

He said “billions of cubic meters of silt is only waiting to be made into bricks” – a promising industry providing alternative to concrete hollow blocks traditionally used in the construction industry.

He cited that Pulangi’s silt can be developed as a brick material as a hollow block alternative, which will cut the cost of construction of a building by half.

Alkuino said more than enough untapped resources made available from the problem of siltation.

He estimated that at a rate of making 200,000 bricks a day …it takes 250 years to exhaust the silts in the Pulangi dam.

It is a “renewable” resource, he added, as the volume of silt added into the area every year is about the size of Mt. Musuan (Mt. Kalayo).

He noted that from Mt. Kitanglad to Pulangi to Rio Grande de Mindanao, the siltation problem is already serious.

But he said one of the options to prevent more siltation is the promotion of the local giant bamboo industry both to counter siltation and to develop a local social enterprise. He said Bukidnon and the rest of Mindanao have the comparative advantage of producing and processing giant bamboo.

The province, he added, can proceed to industrial processing of giant bamboo because of the negative implications of using wood.

“There is nothing wood can do that bamboo cannot do,” he added, citing that bamboo is only one of many industries where social enterprise can be developed.

In Bukidnon for example, aside from bricks, Alkuino cited coffee plantation as an alternative livelihood that can use the social enterprise model.

He cited one of the speakers of the summit will share about the coffee industry to promote planting of Arabica coffee variety, which is “in demand” in the market. He said they have to ask the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which had been promoting other coffee varieties to promote Arabica coffee instead. He cited that rubosta coffee, common in coffee plantations in the province, is good only for instant coffee.

Another industry he cited is citronella oil from the plant of the same name as another product to be developed.

He said the strategy is integration of the indigenous peoples into the mainstream industry. He added that this also means helping sell to the world the quality products of the indigenous peoples like their crafts, among others.

Alkuino cited that businessmen progressing and leaving the workers behind is already “out modelled” or no longer working because it makes social problems worse.

He explained that social enterprise strives to resolve conflict between labor and the capitalists.

“We are not intending to take the wealth from the rich and give it to the poor,” he added.

He said social enterprises espouse win-win relations between the rich and the poor.

Farmers should also consider farming as a business enterprise and have the chance to benefit from gains of business enterprises. He said the rich should share their wisdom or genius and experience through mentoring to help farmers grow.

He said with this and the power of the poor in number, there will be inclusive growth.

Alkuino said, products like bricks, bamboo, arabica coffee and citronella oil, do not only provide livelihood but also address the need for reforestation and environment protection in general. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)