ANTIPOLO CITY—The Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) is ramping up efforts to promote the widespread use of engineered bamboo school desks in public learning institutions ahead of the start School Year 2023-2024 on Tuesday, August 29.
In an interview on Sunday, Butch Madarang, PBIDC executive director, said the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) campaign to promote engineered bamboo as the primary material for school tables and chairs will give a much-needed boost to growers and processors.
The DOST, through its Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), launched earlier this year its “Silyang Pinoy” (Filipino Chair) program, which offers sustainable and competitive materials to replace hardwood and plastic school furniture.
“We are encouraging that [use of bamboo school furniture]. The DOST is our partner agency, and it is represented in the PBIDC. We [involved government agencies] are harmonizing all our efforts to promote the use of bamboo,” he said.
The DOST-FPRDI is seeking to match the Department of Education’s (DepEd) budget for the acquisition of school desks made of hardwood or plastic, with similarly priced furniture made of engineered bamboo.
The DepEd currently spends P116,000 to provide tables and chairs for a class of 45 students, according to the DOST-FPRDI web site.
“Our country’s geographic location situates us in the pathway of destructive typhoons. This furniture technology will support our educational school system and at the same time, [provide for] sturdier furniture for evacuees who seek shelter in schools during disasters,” DOST Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. said in an earlier statement.
Meanwhile, Madarang told the Philippine News Agency that PBDIC officials were in Northern Mindanao over the weekend for ocular visits to bamboo processing facilities.
They also attended a public hearing on the bamboo sector development at the Bamboo Pavillion in Barangay Damilag, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon on Friday.
“Discussions centered on the deliberation of the drafted measures mandating government agencies to allot at least 5 percent of their budget for furniture and fixtures by 2030 using engineered bamboo,” said Madarang.
He said efforts to strengthen the local bamboo industry enjoy significant support in Bukidnon, the home province of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, who filed Senate Bill 605 or an Act Institutionalizing the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Program.
PBIDC council members together with ranking Department of Agriculture officials were also set to visit the facilities of engineered bamboo manufacturer Rizome Philippines in Cagayan de Oro as of posting time.
Image credits: Butch Madarang