The mighty Pulangi River of Bukidnon Province is in trouble. Year by year, as Bukidnon’s deforestation continues, each rainy season sluices exposed soil into the Pulangi, so that today the river is wider, slower, and shallower than ever before. In the glare of the summer sun, the Pulangi’s fish perish by thousands in the super-heated shallows, and the hydro-electric dams upon which Bukidnon’s residents depend for electricity cannot draw enough water fully to power their turbines. When the rains return, the silt-choked river bed exudates water to left and right, flooding nearby communities.
The provincial government’s efforts to de-silt the Pulangi face several obstacles: The necessary equipment is prohibitively expensive, the task is dishearteningly enormous, and there is nowhere to put the silt where it will not wash right back into the river, along with the rest of Bukidnon’s denuded dirt. We might call this phenomenon “silt recidivism.” A novel solution to the problem of silt recidivism lies in Pastor Manny Alkuino’s brickmaking process. His crew scoops silt out of the Pulangi and shovels it into the hopper of his patented Extruder Brick Machine, which mixes the silt with the ashes of burnt rice hulls and molds it into bricks.
After the bricks have sun-dried, the crew stacks them into towers, heaps rice hull in and around them, and ignites the hull. (The ashes of the burnt rice hull will later be fed into the Extruder Brick Machine along with the silt so that an otherwise useless agricultural byproduct actually serves double duty in the brickmaking process, first as a fuel and then as an ingredient.) Sheets of roofing tin are laid against the sides of the smoking brick towers, holding the slow-burning rice hull in place and reflecting heat back into the towers. When the temperature rises to between 900 and 1200 degrees Celsius, a chemical reaction bonds the brick mixture’s two components. Once the river silt and the silica-rich rice hull ashes have combined into synthetic stone, the silt is effectively locked in place. For the next few thousand years, at least, it will not wind up back in the Pulangi River.
Now, obviously 10 men making 8000 bricks per day cannot remove enough silt from the Pulangi substantially to improve the river’s health. This rate of brick production is also too small to fill more than a tiny fraction of the enormous need for sturdy housing materials in the typhoon-battered Philippines. For Pastor Manny’s innovations to achieve maximum impact, they will need to be widely disseminated and finally adopted by as many companies and cooperatives as possible. This is where PBCI hopes to be of service.
By partnering with Pastor Manny in the Sidlak Kalinaw company, we have accepted the responsibility of marketing his Extruder Brick Machine (Easy to assemble, operate, and maintain! An ideal income generator for village-based industry!), the Reinforced Fire Bricks themselves (Five times stronger than concrete hollow blocks! Naturally beautiful – no need to paint! Save 40% on construction costs over hollow blocks!), as well as the other technological innovations offered by Pastor Manny’s Sidlak Pinoy company. By God’s grace we hope to help realize the vision expressed in Sidlak Pinoy’s motto “Pinoy Technology for Pinoy Prosperity.”