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Davao City, Philippines

On to the next one: Bigger things in mind for Dr. Bo Puentespina

September 21, 2019 - Saturday 4:09 PM by Daniel Joaquin

Article Banner Image SHOW OFF. Dr. Bo Puentespina shows off one of Malagos Garden Resort's birds to guests who came to see his last show on August 25, 2019. Story on Pages 2 and 3. ARJOY M. CENIZA

His desire to make a positive change in the world and his experience in veterinary medicine opened his eyes to one of the primary problems faced by the country today: poor waste management.

A waste-free Philippines. That’s the ultimate goal for Roberto ‘Dr. Bo’ Puentespina Jr., DVM and his team at Davao Thermo Biotech Corp. (DTBC), a waste collection and treatment company that specializes in fast biodegradable composting.

Dr. Bo has always been an advocate for the environment and its inhabitants, spending numerous years as a veterinarian specializing in aiding the rehabilitation of injured birds.

He has also spent every weekend of the past 17 years hosting the famous bird show at Malagos Garden Resort, using birds as an educational tool to teach children and adults alike about different avian species and the issues affecting them.

Since 2011, Dr. Bo has been using a script that highlights climate change as he wants to deviate from all other shows in the world that focus solely on the biological aspect of the animals. Focusing on climate change and incorporating laws and practical matters relating to birds and the environment made his show unique and gave it a much bigger purpose.

Despite mostly sticking to the script, Dr. Bo saw himself gradually adding important details to the show to spread awareness on timely issues, which is why he started to talk more and more about waste management and its role in climate change.

His desire to make a positive change in the world and his experience in veterinary medicine opened his eyes to one of the primary problems faced by the country today: poor waste management.

Davao City’s sanitary landfill, which was designed to only accommodate residual waste, is now approaching its limit due to the public’s refusal to segregate. 

In the last quarter of 2017, the city’s only sanitary landfill was declared to have reached a critical stage with regard to its capacity. Almost two years later, Davao City still uses the same one.

In 2013, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) started to require hazardous waste generators to have their waste transported and treated by an accredited party in compliance with DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 2013-22. Although the lack of an accredited Treatment, Storage, and Disposal (TSD) facility in Mindanao deemed the regulation unenforceable.

A year after DAO 2013-22, Dr. Bo built the very first DTBC compartments in Barangay Malagos, Baguio District to try out a patented composting process from Japan, which he eventually purchased and imported to be used in the Philippines.

The process uses hyperthermophilic aerobic bacteria to hasten the decomposition of biodegradable materials, taking something that can take years and doing it in 45 days.

Today, operations are in full swing at DTBC’s 23-compartment plant located in Barangay Binugao, Toril.

Now, DAO 2013-22 is enforceable in and around Davao City because of the hard work being done by the people at DTBC.

But since all good things must come to an end, Dr. Bo decided to bid farewell to the bird show, which colleagues fondly refer to as his first love, on August 25, 2019. However, he is leaving it in the able hands of Malagos Garden Resort manager Jaydee Duano.

The decision to let go of the bird show and focus on his newest venture was rewarded almost immediately as DTBC was named an awardee of the 2019 Lunhaw Awards for Pollution Control.

What Dr. Bo has done with the bird show and what he continues to do at DTBC is proof of the great things a person can achieve if they are passionate about something. His dream of a waste-free Philippines may be more achievable than we think. Daniel Joaquin