Thousands of students from over 300 public schools in the CARAGA area and the National Capital Region (NCR) received 53,776 armchairs from the “Pinoy Bayanihan” Project.
The armchairs were manufactured through the collaboration of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Of the 53,776 armchairs produced since the project’s launching in 2011, a total of 45,876 were distributed to around 300 public schools in the CARAGA region. On the other hand, around 15 public schools in Metro Manila received a total of 7,900 armchairs.
The “Pinoy Bayanihan” project received an initial funding of P100 million from PAGCOR. The program’s objective is to put to good use the illegal logs confiscated by the DENR by manufacturing them into armchairs for the use of students in public schools nationwide.
According to PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino L. Naguiat, Jr. the agency took part in the “Pinoy Bayanihan” project to help the government reduce the armchair backlog in public schools nationwide.
“Thousands of children endure sitting on dilapidated chairs or on the floor because of the lack of decent desks in several public schools. With the new armchairs from the Pinoy Bayanihan project, they can now sit comfortably while attending classes,” Naguiat explained.
As a collaborative undertaking, PAGCOR provided the funds needed to acquire the production equipment and the training costs of the furniture makers. The DENR is in-charge of supplying the lumber processed from confiscated illegal logs. TESDA provides the skills and manpower needed for the production of armchairs while DepEd identifies the schools in dire need of armchairs.
The project’s two production sites were set up at TESDA’s main office in Taguig City and at the Agusan del Sur School of Arts and Trades (ASSAT) in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.
TESDA-CARAGA Regional Director Florencio Sunico, Jr. said the “Pinoy Bayanihan” is a noteworthy project. “From a confiscated log, we created something that became a significant component of the education of our school children. Who knows, one of them might become the president of the country later on,” he quipped.
Sunico also shared that furniture makers also benefit from the “Pinoy Bayanihan” project. “The workers in ASSAT and our main office receive an allowance of P220 a day from PAGCOR’s funding. Dual purpose iyan. Naka-benefit na ang mga estudyante sa ginawang upuan, nakapag-bigay pa tayo ng trainings and allowance sa mga workers. Itong mga workers, most of their parents are farmers. So sila na ang nag-susuporta sa sarili nila and part ng allowance nila, binibigay din nila sa families nila.”
Meantime, DENR-CARAGA Regional Director Nonito Tamayo cited that “An effective way to protect our forests is to prevent the trees from being cut. But since naputol na yan, might as well put it to good use. Hindi na makikita ng mga bata ang mga punong ito na nakatayo sa gubat pero magamit nila ito sa kanilang pag-aaral,” he remarked.
Tamayo concurs that the “Pinoy Bayanihan” project greatly helps some CARAGA locals earn a living. “Most of the residents here especially the indigenous people are dependent on logging. They were gravely affected by Executive Order 23 which bans illegal logging activities nationwide. The Pinoy Bayanihan provided them employment opportunities,” he said.