Archive for March, 2012
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) takes its Corporate Social Responsibility to another level, this time supporting the trailblazing E-Kawayan project.
PAGCOR recently turned over a P31-million financial aid to the City Government of Alaminos, Pangasinan in support of its Hundred Islands Engineered Kawayan Project, dubbed simply as HI e-Kawayan.
PAGCOR’s funding will enable the City of Alaminos to have a fully functional bamboo factory. The factory will re-engineer bamboos into wood-like lumber materials to manufacture school chairs that will be sold at a reasonable price to public schools nationwide through the Department of Education (DepEd).
Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr. says PAGCOR is supporting the project “because it is very different from a simple dole out. The HI e-Kawayan project provides the people of Pangasinan an opportunity to have their own livelihood.”
“That is PAGCOR’s ultimate goal: to help improve the lives of our countrymen and to make them productive citizens of their communities,” Chairman Naguiat added.
The HI e-Kawayan project will help boost the socio-economic development and ecological stability within Alaminos.
Once the manufacturing facilities are put in place, some 1,700 families from the city and nearby municipalities will benefit as workers, providing them with a stable source of income. It is estimated that close to 10,000 individuals will be directly benefited by the HI e-Kawayan project.
Marinela Solar, Technical Control Officer of the e-Kawayan project, said they have tapped experts from various state colleges and universities in the country to provide expertise to the workers which they will hire for the project.
“Through these learning institutions, we will train machine operators, plantation workers and other skilled workers. It will certainly create a lot of job opportunities for the locals,” she said.
Solar added that the project complements the Department of Environment and Natural Resource’s (DENR’s) National Greening Project (NGP) since it is set to reforest 322 hectares of land with bamboo plants which would lead to erosion prevention and slope protection in the area. This will also promote environment sustainability as bamboo plants grow faster than other trees cut for timbers.
Kawayan for Livelihood
Kawayan or bamboo is among the woody plants that possess diverse, economical, and functional uses. Bamboo stalks are tapped as a cheap source of materials for building houses, making handicrafts and native musical instruments. Young bamboo shoots are also used to concoct the all-time Filipino favorite dish of lumpiang ubod. The roots of the plant are also known to help prevent soil erosions and floods.
As a major source of bamboo materials in the province of Pangasinan, the city of Alaminos found good use for its rich bamboo supply – to enrich its local economy and ecological stability by utilizing the traditional and the latest knowledge in manufacturing school chairs made from bamboos. School chairs made from re-engineered bamboos are several steps ahead of similar items in the market in terms of aesthetics and quality.
Engineered bamboo is produced by laminating or gluing two or more layers of crushed, split, or veneered bamboo which can be made into engineered floors, chopping boards, table tops and furniture. This technology was developed by Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
The HI e-Kawayan Project is expected to be implemented over the next few months. The P31 million financial aid given by PAGCOR would be used for building the factory (P7 million), procurement of modern equipments (P8 million), hiring of highly-skilled workers (P6.25 million), a bamboo nursery (P0.25M), preservation of the plantation area (P3.25 million), and the tissue culture laboratory (P6 million).
The project is expected to become a driving force in the development of the bamboo industry in the Ilocos Region. Around 28 out of 62 species of bamboo identified in the Philippines are found in the Ilocos Region. Among the important bamboo species are kawayan tinik (Bambusa blumeana), bayog (Bambusa sp.), botong (Dendrocalamus latiflorus), and giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper). A renewed and intensified interest on bamboo has resulted in its emergence as a good alternative to the decreasing supply of timber in the country.
For the longest time, people thought that the gaming business is all about the rich throwing away their money in fancy VIP casino rooms and chandelier-lit hotels like there’s no tomorrow.
But as the years passed, gaming has become a vehicle for tourism and economic development of progressive countries in the world like the US, Australia, Singapore and Macau. Where there is gaming, there are jobs generated and booming economic activity.
In the Philippines, the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is not only instrumental in spurring economic growth through higher tourist influx and enhanced economic activity. PAGCOR is also the government’s staunch partner in reaching out to the less-privileged sectors of society.
Besides its contributions to the national government and other mandated beneficiaries, PAGCOR strives to touch the lives of more Filipinos by putting corporate social responsibility at the core of the organization’s existence. Here’s a sneak peek of how the state-run gaming firm brings basic social services closer to the Filipino masses:
Health services and relief missions
PAGCOR partners with various government and non-government agencies in delivering basic services to marginalized communities through service and medical mission caravans and provision of medical supplies to low-income households.
The Corporation also provides immediate response to victims of calamity and natural disasters. When the locals of Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro lost their homes and loved ones to flash floods in December last year, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr. immediately ordered the release of a P2 million financial aid for the victims. Similarly, the state-owned gaming firm reached out to hundreds of families affected by the landslide in Compostela Valley early this year by providing basic needs like food, medicines and potable water for the victims.
PAGCOR subsidizes the nutritional needs of underweight children from community-based day care centers and public elementary schools nationwide through a supplemental feeding program, which is conducted in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the DepEd.
The program, which has been in place since 2008, has helped thousands of children battling with malnutrition, achieve their ideal weight. Monitoring reports show that from underweight status, a big majority of the recipients gained normal body mass index, after the four-month feeding session.
Since its new management assumed office in July 2010, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has taken on a more meaningful role other than regulating games of chance in the country and generating revenues for the Philippine Government.
In less than two years of the Aquino administration, PAGCOR has emerged as one of – if not the biggest – CSR organizations in the Philippines today, funding life-changing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects for the Filipino youth.
Building lives through a thousand classrooms
Among PAGCOR’s biggest funded projects is the “Matuwid na Daan sa Silid-Aralan” project in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd). PAGCOR earmarked P1 billion for the project for the construction of 1,000 classrooms nationwide.
Chairman and CEO Bong Naguiat shares that PAGCOR’s foray into the school buildings project is the agency’s way of helping the Aquino administration address the country’s perennial problem on the shortage of classrooms. Per DepEd’s records, there is a massive backlog of over 70,500 classrooms in public schools nationwide as of 2011.
“We know that there is a long way to go in solving this problem. The 1,000 classrooms that will be built using PAGCOR funds will reduce the total shortage by less than 2%. Still, we hope this will go a long way in providing thousands of our public elementary and high school students studying with sturdy structures that will make their schooling more comfortable and conducive to learning,” says Naguiat.
“We believe in the importance of education, that it can be a family’s way out of poverty. So building these classrooms is much like helping our poor school children to have the chance to make their lives better and give them a better future through education,” added the PAGCOR Chief.
New seats of learning
The state-owned gaming corporation also allocated an initial funding of P100 million for the Pnoy Bayanihan project. The program, which is in partnership with DepEd, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), intends to manufacture thousands of school desks out of hot logs confiscated from illegal loggers.
“We are making the problem on illegal logging a solution to address the lack in school desks. It is like returning to the nation these logs that were illicitly taken by illegal loggers,” Naguiat points out.
As of 2010, the total backlog in armchairs stood at 5.38 million nationwide – 3.7 million for elementary public schools and 1.68 million in public high schools. DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said the Pnoy Bayanihan project aims to end this backlog by June 2013. “Hindi na natin hihintayin pang matapos ang term ng ating mahal na Pangulo bago tuluyang masolusyunan ang problemang ito. Agad nating tatapusin ito sa susunod na taon. (We will no longer wait for the end of the President’s term before solving this problem. We will immediately finish this backlog next year.)”
Secretary Luistro also thanked PAGCOR for bankrolling the Pnoy Bayanihan project. “Hulog po ng Diyos sa DepEd, DENR at TESDA si Chairman Naguiat at ang PAGCOR (Chairman Naguiat and PAGCOR are heaven-sent to DepEd, DENR and TESDA)” he said. The agency’s initial P100 million funding for the project was utilized for the retrofitting of existing TESDA and DepEd facilities. It also financed the woodworking facilities established by TESDA in 10 sites nationwide.
To date, a total of 6,596 armchairs have been donated to 10 public schools since the project’s roll-out in March 21, 2011.
The first recipient was the Ramon Magsaysay High School in Cubao, Quezon City which got 500 new chairs. The donation enabled the school to attain a zero backlog in their school desks requirements.
Nine public schools in the CARAGA Region also got new chairs from the Pnoy Bayanihan project. They are the Butuan Central Elementary School (1,900 armchairs), the Agusan National High School (2,000), the Butuan City School of Arts and Trades (800), La Trinidad Elementary School (450), San Vicente Elementary School (350), Villa Kanangga Elementary School (260), Libertad Elementary School (186), Ong Yiu Elementary School (100), and Kinamlutan Elementary School (50).
TESDA Secretary General Joel Villanueva, for his part, stated that around 15,000 chairs are still due for delivery to other schools. “By April, depende sa delivery ng logs ng DENR, sinisiguro po namin na zero backlog na ang buong CARAGA Region pagdating sa armchairs (By April, depending on the delivery of logs by the DENR, we will ensure that the entire CARAGA region will already have a zero backlog in armchairs),” he vowed. TESDA is presently looking at other provinces that have needs for additional armchairs like Isabela and Quezon.
Chasing the World Cup dream
The country’s long journey to an ambitious stint in the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup also got a big boost from PAGCOR as the agency shelled out P20 million in support of the Philippine Football Federation’s (PFF) “Kasibulan” project.
A grassroots development program, the Kasibulan project aims to discover and develop potential football talents from the grassroots level through a seven-year development plan (2012 to 2019). It targets Filipino football enthusiasts aged 6 to 12 years old, and the ultimate goal is for the Philippines to qualify for the FIFA Under17 Cup 2019.
“With the rising popularity of football in the country, it’s high time that we promote a grassroots sports development program like Kasibulan that will aid further in stimulating the interest of our younger generation in football. We believe the Philippines stands a good chance of regaining lost glory in the arena of international sports through the game of football,” notes PAGCOR Chairman Naguiat.
“Dito manggagaling ang bagong henerasyon ng magagaling na Pinoy football players na tatawagin nating mga Batang Azkals (From this program will emerge the new generation of excellent Filipino football players whom we will call Kid Azkals). We hope that through this project, we will be able to produce more competitive sportsmen and further raise the bar of Philippine sports,” he added.
No less than FIFA Vice President for Asia and Executive Committee member Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan graced the launching event of the Kasibulan project last February 11, which also formally introduced the Philippines as the pilot site of football development in the Asian region.
“We have chosen to launch the Asian Football Development Program in the Philippines because we see its potential to become globally competitive in the sport. Through the valuable support of agencies like PAGCOR to the PFF, the Philippines will one day realize its dream of figuring in a major football event like the World Cup,” Prince Al-Hussein explained.
This is not the first time that PAGCOR is funding a project related to the promotion of the football game. Last year, the agency also gave a P2 million financial assistance to Team Azkals relative to its participation in several international competitions.