Some 500 armchairs, made from illegal logs seized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), were turned over yesterday (Aug. 22) to the Ramon Magsaysay (Cubao) High School (RMCHS) in Quezon City during simple rites attended by DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje, and Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva, and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) President Jorge Sarmiento.
Paje said the turnover was the first salvo of classroom chairs and other school facilities that would be generated under the “P-Noy Bayanihan Project” that was forged last July after President Benigno S. Aquino tasked the DENR, DepED, TESDA and Pagcor to work together for the production of school furniture out of confiscated logs by the DENR.
The DENR turned over for the project about 1,598.715 cubic meters of logs of mixed dipterocarp species confiscated from illegal logging operations in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur.
“Ninakaw sa kabataan, kaya nararapat lang na ibalik sa kabataan,” said Paje, talking to over a thousand RMCHS students.
“It was the President’s belief that whatever gain that can be had from seized illegally-cut logs should go to today’s Filipino youth since they were those who have been robbed by the illegal loggers when they felled the trees from which these chairs are made,” Paje stressed.
RMCHS principal Josefina Perlado expressed gratitude for the donation, saying RMCHS replaces an average of 1,500 chairs annually which are either for repair or replacement. RMCHS has a total of 6,718 students and 85 classrooms.
Paje expressed confidence that his agency will be able to assure the project’s wood requirement as some 8,000 cubic meters more of donated seized logs are up for processing.
The 500 chairs were made of mixed dipterocarp species, mostly of red and white lauan, and were shipped to Manila all the way from the Caraga Region where they were produced by TESDA-trained technicians at TESDA facilities. For its part, PAGCOR shouldered the production and shipping cost
The chairs are expected to last from 20 to 25 years because of the quality of the lumber used which are classified as “premuim hardwood” as against ordinary school chairs made of plantation species like gmelina, which has a lifespan of five to 10 years only. Ayda Zoleta, PAO, DENR