The Philippines set a new world record on forming the longest line of pencils on Saturday.
Spearheaded by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), Departments of Education and Social Welfare and Development and SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, some 2,000 students aged 14 to 17 formed a pencil line of 859 meters, besting the 459 meters set by Germany in 2015.
The event marked the celebration of the National Children’s Month and the launching of the 1 Million Lapis campaign aimed at collecting one million pencils for donation to underprivileged children.
Carrying four pencils each, the students formed a line along the bay area at the Mall of Asia Arena (MOA) in Pasay City.
Confirming the world-breaking feat were representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Manuel Nague of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) who led the survey and measurement of the line.
Details of the event together with the pertinent documents will be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for review.
CWC Executive Director Patricia Luna said they were delighted by the outcome of their initiative as they have not only set a new world record but highlighted the need to make school supplies easily accessible to the youth.
Royston Cabunag, project director of SM Cares Program for the Youth, said the 1 Million Lapis campaign started as a pet project of SM Prime Vice President for Corporate Communications Elena Bautista Horn and former Department of Education Undersecretary Mario Derequito as a way of addressing the shortage of school supplies, particularly pencils.
“Pencils are something many of us take for granted but for thousands of students, pencils are a luxury because of poverty. They share a pencil even to the point of sharpening both ends just so they could write. Despite this, they still do their best to study and write. This is our way of making learning easier for them because education is a right guaranteed to them,” Cabunag said.
Luna said they have surpassed their one-million target as more than 3.3 million pencils have been donated and pledged for the project. Most of the pencils were donated by pencil maker Amspec.
All the donated pencils will be given to remote provinces across the country.
With the success of the project, Luna said they are looking at launching a similar program that will include other school supplies such as bags and notebooks.
“This will open hopefully new doors and with our ever reliable partners, we will be able to help more Filipino children realize their dream of having an education,” he added. JAIME R. PILAPIL