Logs seized in Butuan to be made into armchairs for schools

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/08 August) — The illegal logs that were seized in a series of raids in the city will be used in making armchairs for public schools in the Caraga Region, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.

DENR Assistant Secretary and Caraga Regional Executive Director Marlo D. Mendoza said the plan will help meet the demand for armchairs by the Department of Education in the region.

Mendoza said they are planning to put up seven more armchair production centers all over the region minimize backlogs.

But he clarified that they have yet to identify the production sites, although he said these would be spread across the region.

He said they will also see if other products like novelty items can be made from the leftover materials of the chairs.

President Benigno Aquino III issued last February 1, 2011 Executive Order 23 imposing a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residual forests in the entire country.

From that directive emerged the P-Noy Bayanihan Project, which allows confiscated illegal logs to be turned over by the DENR initially to the Department of Education (DepEd) to be made into armchairs.

But since DepEd don’t have personnel for the armchair project, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA was called in for the job with the initial budget coming from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

TESDA Caraga Regional Director Edwin C. Gatinao pointed out that the idea of converting confiscated logs into chairs for schools is a good way to curb corruption and discourage the further illegal cutting of trees [in the region].

“Presently the armchairs are built at the TESDA-accredited Agusan del Sur School of Arts and Trades or ASSAT in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur employing between some 70 TESDA graduates. The workers have a quota to produce 300 armchairs a day and they earn 250 pesos daily,” said Gatinao.

Braulio Dela Pena, chief of the Regional Operations Division of TESDA said that since June 2011 until July 2012, about 27, 000 armchairs have been made from the 147,000 board feet of confiscated lumber.

He said 16,621 armchairs have been delivered to various public schools in the region.

“So far we are worried on the production end since the DENR has not met the needed volume of materials to be delivered. The deliveries have fallen short from the daily requirement of 3,000 board feet daily,” he added. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)