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“Istay man chi, meaning thank you.”
Was how Macario D. Balanggao Jr., Chairman of barangay Amlao expressed his gratitude as he delivered his welcome remarks during the ceremonial opening and blessing of the Bulanao-Amlao Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) in Tabuk City, Kalinga on July 18, 2018.
Barangay Amlao is among the road influence area of the FMR along with four other barangays – Malin-awa, Ballawag, Suyang, and Lucog. The FMR subproject has a length of 15.8 kilometers with a total project cost of P213, 041,140.19 shared by the World Bank (80%), the Government of the Philippines through the DA (10%), and the LGU (10%).
The inauguration activities jump started with a motorcade from the provincial capitol to the end of the subproject in barangay Amlao followed by a program.
Engr. Domingo A. Bakilan, Provincial Agriculturist and Head of the PRDP Provincial Project Management and Implementing Unit (PPMIU) of Kalinga shared the milestones of the subproject from the planning to the implementation stage.
According to Engr. Bakilan, the side works for the FMR subproject are yet to be completed but it already has a physical accomplishment of almost 90%.
“We are going to protect and take care of this road since it is a legacy that is worth keeping,” said barangay Balawag chairman Jerry G. Donga. One at a time, local officials of the barangays covered by the FMR committed to maintain and protect the road.
Meanwhile, Tribal Council Elder Ignacio Baglingit recalled the difficulty of their lives in barangay Amlao before the road even existed.
“We used to walk for hours before reaching our school until the road was opened in the early 70s, thanks to the perseverance of our elder leaders before. Now that the road was concreted, it paved the way for new opportunities as well. We can now go to the center town in a shorter period of time and various retailers can now reach us, and without the cooperation of the affected barangays, this project will cease to exist,” said Baglingit as he assured to guard and maintain the road.
In relation to this, DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillio encouraged the community to protect and preserve the environment for the sake of the future generations. He also commended the officialdom of Kalinga for having the highest cost of PRDP subprojects in the North Luzon Cluster.
Not only does Kalinga account for the largest cost share of PRDP implemented subprojects but the top implementer in the Cluster as well, according to Elma S. Mananes, Deputy Project Director of PRDP Project Support Office (PSO) North Luzon.
“We at the PRDP serve as instruments but without the continuing efforts of PLGU Kalinga, these subprojects would not have been realized,” Mananes added.
On the other hand, PRDP National Deputy Project Director Engr. Cirilo N. Namoc emphasized the primary purpose of the Project which is to increase the income of farmer-beneficiaries.
“Even after the completion of the FMR, we will be coming back to assess if the objectives of the project were achieved,” said Engr. Namoc stressing that a road safety plan and an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) team will later on be developed in order to ensure the sustainability and safety of the road.
Governor Jocel C. Baac urged every stakeholder and beneficiaries to work together in order to sustain these projects.
“Let us converge our efforts to address the weaknesses of our poor people and uplift their social and economic status,” urged Baac.
On Kalinga’s coffee blend business
With a total cost of P2, 399,462.51, the construction of the Kalinga Coffee Trading Center (KCTC) is now completed and was turned over to the proponent groups (PG) of the Kalinga Integrated Coffee Processing and Marketing Enterprise, a subproject under the PRDP’s I-REAP (Enterprise Development) component.
Six (6) cooperatives from the different municipalities of Kalinga joined together and reformed as Kalinga Coffee Cluster Agricultural Cooperative (KCCAC) for the development of the coffee industry in Kalinga and for the operation of the coffee enterprise as well. These are Dupligan Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative, Tanudan Savings and Lending, Mananig Multipurpose Cooperative, Gawidan Malin-awaan Marketing Cooperative, Patiking Agriculture Cooperative, and Nambucayan Agriculture Cooperative, according to Bonet A. Gatan, KCCAC Chairman.
The trading center is located at Old BAExt. Compound, Purok 5, Bulanao, Tabuk City. It will be used for the consolidation and marketing of coffee and other crops.
“With the assistance of the PRDP and the PPMIU, we will surely give our best in the operation and management of the coffee Enterprise,” added Gatan.
The Kalinga coffee enterprise was conceptualized in response to the need for alternative buyers and market expansion that will give higher income to coffee grower members. It has a total project cost of more than P14, 000,000.00 including its civil works. It is expected to boost the economic status of coffee farmers in Kalinga and improve the quality of their coffee as well.
Both the FMR and the enterprise subprojects were initially proposed in support to the coffee industry in Kalinga.
While the KCCAC envisions to improve the volume of coffee consolidated and expand its business coverage, the coffee industry in the province is also deemed to be fully developed through the investments of the PRDP.|| Elvy S. Taquio
DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillio (center) led the ribbon cutting during the ceremonial opening and blessing of the Bulanao-Amlao Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) on July 18, 2018. With him were PRDP North Luzon Cluster Deputy Project Director Elma S. Manaes, National Deputy Project Director Engr. Cirilo N. Namoc, and members of Kalinga LGU headed by Governor Jocel C. Baac. (Photo by Darrel Sunga)
Students of Mabato Elementary School rendered a traditional dance during the program held for the ceremonial opening and blessing of the Bulanao-Amlao FMR at Amlao, Tabuk City, Kalinga. (Photo by Darrel Sunga)
DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillio together with PRDP North Luzon Deputy Project Director Elma S. Mananes, National Deputy Project Director Cirilo N. Namoc, and Kalinga Governor Jocel C. Baac, and Provincial Agriculturist Domingo A. Bakilan led the ribbon cutting during the opening and blessing ceremony for the Kalinga Coffee Trading Center (KCTC). (Photo by Darrel Sunga)
Delegates from the PRDP NPCO, PSO, RPCO and the officials of PLGU Kalinga with the members of the Kalinga Coffee Cluster Agricultural Cooperative (KCCAC). (Photo by Darrel Sunga)
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Weaving success of rural women in Sabangan, Mt. Province
Enriching both the heritage of traditional loom-weaving and the lives of rural women of Sabangan, Mountain Province is the founding aspiration of the Sabangan Weavers Association (SaWA), a livelihood interest group (LIG) supported under the Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management (CHARM2) Project since 2015.
“We actually started when the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) gave us a training on loom weaving in 2015 before CHARMP2 came to organize us,” said Eleanor Panay, treasurer of the group. Later on, we also received another upgrading training from Hyper Company and shortly after, DTI also provided us with four hand-loom machines and 11 sewing machines under their shared service facility program, she added.
The members could actually start to do business then but they still lack enough capital to buy threads to weave. “Then CHARM2 Project came to assist us. They organized us also in 2015 as an LIG where we are composed of 15 female members and we became a recipient of the livelihood assistance fund (LAF) loan worth of P90,000,” Eleanor narrates.
“When we received our LAF loan, we used it to buy threads and for operational expenses,” said Ranny Dao, the group’s secretary. “We distributed the hand-loom machines to members who are good at weaving. They weave at home since we don’t have space to accommodate all of them,” she said.
Elizabeth Bayongasan, a member of the group said that the barangay offered them the Barangay hall for free but only the sewing machines fit in the space, thus, they agreed to do the weaving at home instead and the sewing of weaving products at the barangay hall where the products are also displayed.
“We distribute the work to our members. Some do the weaving, others do the sewing while the rest do the sales and marketing,” said Eleanor. The group have eventually grew in members, they are now 24 women members working to grow the business.
Members are paid according to their labor. The group provide the thread for the weaving and weavers are paid through ‘labor per yard’ while the sowers who creatively design and craft the finished weaving products are paid through ‘labor per product’, which depends on the size and intricacy of the product design.
Their small earning from their handful work serve as an additional income for their family.
With the groups collective labour of love, they were able to create a growing range of weaving products from wallets, bags, hats, traditional garments to modern weave-accented garments depending on the orders of the customers.
Members market their products through their connections from Baguio and even in Tabuk, Kalinga. They also market it in their locality since many still order traditional garments from them like their ‘lamma’ or ‘tapis’.
The group slowly established their business. In 2016, they were able to pay the LAF loan and thus, it was granted to them in 2017. This year, they just started to officially sell their creative products where they have an initial sale of around P25,000 since January.
“We don’t really have problems on marketing, actually we can’t even accommodate all the orders,” said Eleanor. “Our problem actually is the group lack younger members since we are already having difficulties in sowing because of our aging poor eyes and we have to tend to our farms too,” she said.
GETTING TRAINED AND STARTING ANEW
Some members from Barangay Namatek who are now former members of the SaWA group decided to part their ways. They have worked for quite some time with SaWA and after earning enough training and experience, they decided to start their own weaving business.
Eleanor said it was okay because at least they trained others who could help them accommodate the growing number of orders in the neighbourhood.
EMPOWERED RURAL WOMEN
Indeed, the group of these rural women proved they can do more than household and farm chores. They can even display their artistic skills through their creative work designs and preserve their rich culture and tradition on loom weaving. Not only that, they are able to hone their business prowess making them models of empowered rural women of today. //CBOrcales