|(Photo: PAGCOR funds P-Noy Bayanihan Project. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Education (DepEd) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the implementation of the “P-Noy Bayanihan, a Partnership for Education and Livelihood” project. P-Noy Bayanihan is a joint effort of the four government agencies which aims to fast-track the production of school furniture out of confiscated logs by DENR. PAGCOR will initially give P100 million funding for the project. Present during the MOA signing are (from left) TESDA Secretary Joel J. Villanueva, DepEd Secretary Armin A. Luistro, DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, PAGCOR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Cristino L. Naguiat Jr. and PAGCOR President and Chief Operating Officer Jorge V. Sarmiento.)
GONE are the days when public school students had to sit on dilapidated chairs or use worn out desks while attending classes.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Education (DepED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the “P-Noy Bayanihan, a Partnership for Education and Livelihood” project.
The project, which is getting over a P100 million funding from PAGCOR, is in response to the Memorandum Order signed by the President of the Philippines directing the DENR, DepED, TESDA and PAGCOR to work together and fast-track the production of school furniture out of confiscated logs by the DENR. Every year, the DepED purchases about P1 billion worth of arm chairs and tables. The DepED has a perennial problem in the shortage of classrooms, including desks and chairs.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said that as a way of heightening the administration’s anti-illegal logging campaign, they decided to donate the confiscated logs to DepED for its requirements for desks, chairs, tables, among others.
The DENR’s operations against illegal logging often result in the confiscation of logs and lumber which are donated to various beneficiaries in accordance with Presidential Memorandum No, 162 S-1993.
“Before, confiscated logs were turned over to the Natural Resources Bidding Corporation. But we found out that most of the winning bidders were the illegal loggers,” he said. “Under this project, we are putting into wise use illegally harvested timber,” Paje added.
DENR has an inventory of some 17,608 cu. m. (7.47 million board feet) of confiscated logs donated and for donation to the DepED. About 796,749 board feet covered by the Deeds of Donation were turned over to the DepED. However, of the 16 regions where donations were made, only seven regions reported utilization of the donated logs, either for the repair of school buildings or manufacture of chairs and tables.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said the logs donated by the DENR will be very useful in filling up the shortages in schools. “But we do not have the capacity to do the chairs and other furniture the shortest possible time,” he said.
Luistro added that through PAGCOR’s funding and TESDA’s provision of manpower skills training, the confiscated logs donated by DENR will be put to good use.
PAGCOR Chairman Cristino L. Naguiat, Jr. said the P100 million funding from the state-run gaming firm will be tapped for the retrofitting of existing TESDA and DepED facilities. It will also be used to fund woodworking facilities that will be established by TESDA in ten sites nationwide. “This is just the initial project funding and the first among bigger education-related projects that PAGCOR intends to support and implement in the immediate future,” he said.
Apart from addressing the shortage of school furniture, the P-Noy Bayanihan Project is also expected to generate employment opportunities and spur community development.
TESDA Secretary Joel Villanueva said through PAGCOR’s funding, they will be able to hire and train workers for the ten production sites to be established in various parts of the country.
“Hopefully, we will not only be able to address DepED’s backlog in school furniture. We want the project to become a sustainable source of livelihood because this is a proactive response to the challenges that we face,” he said.
Villanueva added that to train more manpower and make the project more sustainable, they will look into partnership with schools that offer woodworking courses. “We will do our best so we could provide new chairs and tables by the start of the school year in June."