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.