Some 54,303 pieces of essential school furniture and facilities have so far been produced from undocumented logs and lumber confiscated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in keeping with its policy to support the government’s efforts of improving the educational facilities of public schools.
DENR Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje disclosed the output involved the conversion of some seven million board feet of wood into 48,620 school chairs; 4,777 school desks; 660 tables; 132 cabinets; 98 benches and 16 bookshelves.
“The response from the various sectors to our move to stop bidding out all DENR-confiscated forest products and put them up for donation instead has been very encouraging, particularly the Department of Education which has been the recipient of most of these facilities,” Paje said.
Paje cited the cooperation of the Philippine Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which, under the “PNoy Bayanihan Project”, turned over some 21,000 school chairs to DepEd from the 761,538 board feet of wood that the DENR has supplied to TESDA, which in turn, manufactured it into school chairs with funding support from PAGCOR.
Another 27,620 school chairs were turned over to public schools through other outlets that sponsored the conversion into school chairs such as local government units (18,404) the Philippine National Police (20) and even the DENR (589).
Part of the donated wood also went into the repair of 334 school buildings and public facilities.
Since 2010 upon Paje’s assumption into office, a total of 12.06 million board feet of undocumented forest products has been confiscated by the DENR, of which some 7 million board feet have already been donated. The remaining balance of 5 million board feet are either undergoing litigation procedures or awaiting clearance for donation, according to him.
The DENR’s adoption of the donation policy is also in consonance with the issuance of Executive Order 23 issued by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III in February in 2011 declaring a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in national and residual forests in the country.