TESDA churns out 22,000 schools chairs from seized logs

05 Februry 2012

Close to 22,000 units of school chairs have been either produced or readied to be assembled by a pool of workers trained by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the PNoy Bayanihan project.

The project, which started last year, involves turning confiscated logs into chairs to help solve the lack of the furniture for students in public schools.

Four agencies of government—TESDA, Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)— collaborated for this initiative.

TESDA targets to produce around 50,000 armchairs to fill up the shortage in the CARAGA region. It was in the region where the seven million board feet of logs were confiscated.

If deliveries of lumber and other materials from the DENR are on track, TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva hopes to achieve a zero backlog of armchairs in the region.

As of February 2012, Villanueva said that a total of 21,634 units have either been produced or readied for assembly.
Of this number, 8,270 have been completely assembled; 3,873 are categorized as complete knockdown chairs (assembled but no varnish yet) while parts have already been produced and ready to be assembled for 9,527 chairs.

A total of 6,896 completely assembled units have been delivered to beneficiary schools. 

Some 500 units were turned over to the Ramon Magsaysay High School in Cubao, Quezon City in August 2011 and 6,396 units were recently delivered to most populated schools in the CARAGA Region – Butuan Central Elementary School (1,900 units), Agusan National High School (2,000 units), Butuan City School of Arts and Trades (800 units), Agusan del Sur NHS (300 units), Libertad CES (186 units),  La Trinidad ES (450 units), Villa Kananga ES (260 units), San Vicente ES (350 units), Kinamlutan IS (50 units) and Ong Yu ES (100 units).

To produce one chair would cost P580, including the varnishing and delivery, which is cheaper by about 40 percent than the school chairs sold commercially.

"More students will benefit if we will be able to produce the chairs faster. Having their own chairs will allow them to study comfortably and focus more on their lessons," he said.

The chairs were produced in only one production site, the Furniture Training and Production Center, established at the Agusan del Sur School of Arts and Trade (ASSAT), one of the 125 TESDA technology institutes nationwide.

Some 117 skilled workers who have undergone training under TESDA are involved in the project.

Villanueva assured that TESDA has a pool of skilled workers to do the job should the demand increase when the lumber and other materials come in.

The TESDA chief announced that two more production sites are being eyed in Isabela and Quezon provinces to speed up production.

"This is TESDA's contribution to the project and we guarantee that our trained workers will always give the best quality work," he said.

Villanueva said the collaborative project best mirrors the Aquino administration's thrust towards curbing corruption, educating the youth and providing jobs and livelihood to the people.

"Turning hot logs into school chairs are giving to the people back what was stolen from them. What's more, there's a learning component in this because through TESDA's trainings, we produce experts in furniture-making and operators of furniture machines. And because of their new-found skills, they are able to earn for their families," Villanueva said.

"In essence, the problem becomes the solution," he added.

PAGCOR committed a P100-million fund for the equipment being used in manufacturing the armchairs while DepEd will take charge of the distribution.

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