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PIA Press Release

Commentary: Knock on wood

by Danny O. Sagun

San Fernando City, La Union (12 October) -- Philippine forest products are of superior quality that home builders prefer these over imported ones. "Ito yong kabaliktaran sa ibang produkto," noted Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Rogel Pimentel at our weekly Pantongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine Information Agency over Radyo ng Bayan - DZMQ last Tuesday.

Co-anchor Helen B nodded in agreement as she noted that other imported products (except perhaps those budget-friendly articles from China ranging from shoes and apparel to cellphone accessories, we may add) cost much much more and are highly preferred than locally-made ones.

Pimentel said that carpenters particularly avoid wood products from other countries despite their attractive low prices compared with the local lumber. Main reason is that the imported wood is so hard nails can hardly penetrate it. "Bali-bali na yong pako, di pa nakabaon," (The nail is all bent from hammering and yet it has not been driven in yet) he said. The wood also easily cracks.

Why so? we asked Rogel. Why, for example, is opting that is grown locally, of better quality than its counterpart harvested from another part of the world?

Pimentel, a forester, attributed it to the situation prevailing in the area where a tree is grown. Typhoons that batter trees most of the time make the wood harder, he bared. Mindanao, in contrast, where most of our forest products come from, is seldom visited by typhoons, he noted.

His explanation did not fully satisfy us however. Our remaining forest covers in Luzon like those in Quezon and Aurora are frequently visited by typhoons and yet they are our main sources of local lumber of premium quality. Remember the landslides and flash floods in those areas some two years ago caused by overlogging?

So, how about this possible explanation, Mang Rogel? The soil could be a factor as in the case of our tasty, mouth-watering Bonuan bangus, the only one of its kind in the world.

Bangus fingerlings taken from the same area but are grown in separate places will show a big difference in their taste and texture. Grow some of the fingerlings in the fishponds of Bonuan Boquig, Gueset or Binloc or even in nearby Maasin in Mangaldan and you will have that fat-bellied, small headed fine scaled variety.

Raise the others of same species in the fishponds of Bulacan or Pampanga and you will see a very different milkfish - thick scales, hard body texture and bones and poor taste (what we call maablir in Pangasinan).

The unique Bonuan bangus baffles many, even our own scientists. But the main factor that influences the end product could be the soil or the water.

Is that also true with our Philippine wood products, Mr. Penro? (PIA) [top]

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