BINALONAN -- To address the problem on lack of school desks and the protection of environment, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo launched here recently the "Engineered Bamboo Project."

To be at the forefront are the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) headed by Secretary Peter Favila and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) led by Secretary Horacio Ramos.

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“The DENR will be in charge of the bamboo nursery and dispersal growing while DTI is tasked to supervise the production of bamboo products. Inaasahan natin na 25 percent ng kinakailangang desks ng Department of Education ay manggagaling sa kawayan at hindi sa punong gubat,” Arroyo explained.

“The DTI, through the Cottage Industry Technology Center, has machines to make bamboo desks,” she added.

The President directed Favila to give the town of Binalonan a bamboo desk making machine, which will be used to manufacture bamboo school desks for the province of Pangasinan.

This will be delivered to the municipality next month.

With the Engineered Bamboo Project, the National Government hopes to reduce the cutting of trees. At the same time, it hopes to create jobs and business opportunity for bamboo growers.

Bamboo is a grass that grows to as high as 50 feet at a short period of time.

Replanting is not needed after harvesting, as it replenishes itself with several stalks naturally grow.

In the province of Pangasinan, among the top suppliers of bamboo are San Carlos City, Sta. Barbara, Bolinao and some towns in Western Pangasinan.