Rubber farmers find productive use for deadwood, provides added income

Rubber farmers in the municipality of Naga in Zamboanga Sibugay recently expressed their gratitude to the DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) for creating new jobs and extra source of income using a technology that brought back “life” to deadwood.Thru the project “Processing and Utilization of Senile and Unproductive Rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis) Trees for the Production of High Value Furniture, Mouldings and Joineries”, the farmers were able to convert senile rubberwood trees or deadwood into high-value products such as quality home and school furniture.

TARBEMCO’s chair Esperidion M.Salburo during the closing ceremony of the DOST-FPRDI training on furniture making.

“We are very grateful to DOST-FPRDI because of what we have now,” said Esperidion M. Salburo, chairman of the Tambanan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TARBEMCO). “Without their help, the old rubberwood trees in our community will only be used for fruit crates, pallets, and firewood. Now, we can also use them to make premium products like furniture, doors, door jambs and other builders’ woodworks that will bring in much needed income for us.”

Rubberwood can be turned into exquisite furniture such as this center table, which won 3rd place during the 2019 Rubberwood Furniture Design Contest. In the last two years, DOST-FPRDI conducted a series of training for TARBEMCO members to teach them how they can maximize the use of old, unproductive rubberwood trees. Of TARBEMCO’s 298 members, 78 have already attended the DOST-FPRDI’s trainings on harvesting and sawmilling, rubberwood preservation and treatment, kiln drying, woodworking machine operation and maintenance, furniture making and basic finishing. The rubber farmers also received a complete line of processing equipment and facilities necessary for every stage of furniture production – from sawmilling to finishing.”We are now inspired to plant more rubber trees because we have realized their value,” said Chairman Salburo.
 The TARBEMCO plantation currently has 210 hectares of senile rubberwood trees that can yield as much as 31,500 cubic meters of valuable lumber.  (Juliemar V. Purificacion & Rizalina K. Araral)


Pisay opens classes using KHub remote learning system

The youth today are introduced to the computer and digital media long before they learned to read and write.

As we begin to shift towards blended learning under the new normal, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Science High School System (DOST-PSHSS) or Pisay is one of the educational institutions that quickly adapts and makes necessary adjustments when it comes to crafting its modules and developing the skill set of its teaching personnel.

With less than a week before the opening of its classes for the new academic calendar year, the DOST-PSHSS will introduce to its 16 regional campuses an online learning management system suitable for a more technology-savvy generation.

As part of their preparation for the remote learning starting September 01, 2020, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Science High School System (DOST-PSHSS) developed the Knowledge Hub or KHub to help the students and teachers of 16 campuses of Pisay to have a one-stop-shop for all their academic needs for the upcoming school year. (Screenshot from the DOST-PSHSS website)

Called Knowledge Hub or KHub, it contains libraries of teaching guides for Pisay teachers and students to have a one-stop-shop for all their academic needs for the coming years.

“Tulad ng tradisyunal na classroom, dito nakikipag-usap ang mga guro at mag-aaral. Maaaring ilagay ng mga guro ang kanilang tala at pagsusulit para makuha at masagutan ng mga estudyante. Nilalayon nito na mapagaan ang pang araw-araw na gawain ng mga guro at mag-aaral”, said Francis Joseph Serina, Information Technology Officer II from the Office of Executive Director of DOST-PSHSS during the recent episode of the DOST Report aired on 21 August 2020 by DOSTv.

(Just like the traditional classroom, the teachers and students talk here. The teachers can put their records and examinations so that students can access and answer them. It aims to lighten the workload of the teachers)

KHub has various features, and Campus KHub is one of them. It is where teachers meet their students. Subjects with individual rules or courses can be seen here only by the students enrolled in these subjects[S#1] .

It also has a feature called “Badges” that gives rewards to students. If the exercises are done correctly, the next activity can already be unlocked. Through this, the assessment will be quicker and there will be an assurance that the students have already mastered the skills for a particular subject. Additional to that, the teachers can also upload other learning materials such as records for the recitation and written tests.

“Kapag ang guro naman ang nakapasok, makikita niya ang mga asignatura na nakatakda para sa kanya at mga tala ng panayam na gagamitin niya para sa kanyang asignatura.” said Serina.

(As soon as the teacher logs in, he/she can see the subjects that are assigned to him/her, along with the records for the activities that will be used in the subject.)

Aside from uploading materials, it is easy to repeat a test using KHub since it serves as the learning and teaching repository. There are also learning resource materials from the DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute, Department of Agriculture, previous researches from academe, and many others that can be accessed.

Also accessible in KHub is the guide in conducting webinars which was developed and prepared by the Research and Policy Academic Division of Pisay.

“Bagamat ang KHub ay fully online, iminumungkahi namin sa mga mag-aaral na i-download ang mga student learning guide para makapag-aral pa rin sila kahit walang internet connection o offline mode,” said Serina.

Although KHub is fully online, we encourage the students to download the student learning guide so they can still study even they don’t have an internet connection, or they’re on offline mode.

To ensure the effectiveness of its implementation, Pisay has developed a bridging program using distance learning. It is non-graded and designed for Pisay scholars. Serina explained that this is to fill in the learning topics that were removed due to the suspension of classes during the 4th grading period of the previous school year.

The teachers and students will also be given an allowance to facilitate remote teaching and learning. ### By: Allan Mauro V. Marfal, DOST-STII


Pinoy OFW finds wood products making a profitable business

Witnessing how his father ran the day-to-day operation of their furniture business, Benjie Inocencio learned to appreciate the craft and the business. Because he was exposed to this enterprise at a young age, he learned the ins and outs of the woodworking and furniture making industry. Seeing the great potential of the business, Benjie was inspired to follow in his father’s footsteps and looked forward to fulfill his lifelong dream.

Ready to spread his wing, Benjie went to Kuwait to work in a furniture company after college to gain more experience. However, since he does not have any certificate of employment to present, he was hired initially on a floating status and was assigned in the Sand Department.

“When I came there (in Kuwait), the huge challenge for me was to find a perfect job or task. I have never been employed when I was in the Philippines, I used to do commission works as a carpenter and freelancer,” said Benjie.

Benjie’s determination to prove something and his eagerness to expand his knowledge were enough to find his perfect footing in his company. After six months, he eventually got promoted as a CNCC programmer.

Benjie Inocencio was an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Kuwait for three years before he decided to start Journey Woodblock Enterprises. Through DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP, Benjie’s business grew and was able to generate livelihood for the unskilled carpenters in their area. (Screenshot from DOST Report episode aired via DOSTv Facebook page on 11 September 2020)
When Benjie was about to establish a stable career in Kuwait, he still felt the urge to have his own company, and use the same kinds of machines and technologies in furniture making in the Philippines.

With the passion for the craft and desire to have his own company, Benjie opened Journey Woodblock Enterprises in 2012. It produces high quality solid wood furniture like modular cabinets, kitchen cabinets, built-in closets, countertops, drop ceilings, bed frames, double-deck beds, and other customized items.

The company also offered interior design, fit out, and renovation for condo units and commercial spaces. Because of their quality work, they were recognized as one of the design leaders in space management, and their commitment to innovation and modern design yielded for the company a comprehensive portfolio of kitchen and closets ideal for condominiums, homes, offices, mall spaces, schools, and other institutions.

In 2015, Benjie and Journey Woodblock Enterprises learned about the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and how it can help micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Wasting no time, Benjie applied for assistance to upgrade their production capability with the acquisition of a CNC Router Machine and an Edge Banding Machine, that resulted in increased production output and efficiency, improved product quality, and increased business opportunities.

In 2020, the company again availed of the SETUP assistance to acquire a CNC Router with Automatic Tool Changer that will automate their milling process. With the growing demand for their products and services, the company realized the need to further improve their production capacity to meet growing demands through the acquisition of upgraded production equipment.

Through SETUP, the Journey Woodblocks Enterprises was able to increase its production output by 43% from 70 to 100 boards per month as well as improved its sales by 57% from seven million in 2015 to 11 million in 2019.

Additional to that, the company also achieved smooth and precise production process through the elimination of rejects in production from eight to just three boards per month. This resulted in increased savings by as much as Php 100,000 per month by eliminating the outsourcing of processes.

According to Benjie, the terms of DOST for their SETUP beneficiaries are very ideal for many small businesses.

“You have three years to pay and you have a lead time of six months. It is almost free because, in the first six months, you were able to get the return on your investment immediately. DOST is creating a way for us to pay them back,” said Benjie.

Benjie ended by sharing his gratefulness to DOST’s SETUP as it becomes a source of inspiration for many aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs and he hopes that many more Filipinos would benefit from it, just like him. By: Allan Mauro V. Marfal, DOST-STII