Bontoc– The Mountain Province Provincial Micro Small Medium Enterprises Development Council (MP SMEDC) conducted the first Provincial Weavers Summit on July 30-31, 2019 at the Samoki Valley Inn, Samoki Bontoc, Mountain Province.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Mountain Province Office spearheaded the summit which gathered the different weaving proprietors and organization leaders of Mountain Province for them to come up with the 2019-2022 roadmap for the weaving industry.
According to DTI-Mountain Province Provincial Director Juliet P. Lucas, the plan will have to be crafted by the various agencies and stakeholders of the industry to be able to come up with a viable and sustainable work plan to address prevalent issues/ concerns.
The activity began with the mapping of the location of the weavers, the identification of the products they are producing and what the weavers are actually receiving for the sale of their products. Along with this is the discussion of the various issues and concerns that are impeding the development of the industry.
Lucas said that the activity will enable the participants of the summit to draw the present picture of the weaving industry compared to how it was 10 years ago.
During the summit, the local weavers shared their best practices in alleviating issues and strengthening the industry as a whole. They focused on the identification of the various activities that would add value to the final products produced by the various organizations.
According to DTI Trade and Industry Development Specialist Gloria B. Bagayas, one common challenge that the weavers expressed through the activity is the need for new designs, penetrating the national and international market, promotion and sustainability.
The weavers expressed their concern on the sustainability of the local weaving industry because although there is a market for the product, it seems that a great number of people, especially the younger generation, are not interested in entering the weaving industry; they were one in saying that the existence of “demand” for woven products is one reason why weaving should be sustained.
With this, Lucas emphasized that weaving provides an opportunity for employment and livelihood and should be sustained as it is a part of our tradition and rich history as Igorots and Cordillerans. She reiterated that weaving provides a unique identity to the province as a whole since it is an age-old industry that started since time immemorial when women started weaving their skirts, belts and men’s wanes then to blankets and burial clothes. Moreover, she said that the tradition has survived until contemporary times and just needs to evolve to something more responsive to the needs of the times through innovations. Such she said goes back to some of the challenges posed by the weavers themselves in terms of sustainability.
In her closing message, Lucas urged the local weavers to continue coming up with new products and new designs.
“You have to be innovative and must cope with the trends of the times in terms of product innovation, identification and functionality; do your best, be competitive and do not be complacent and strive to have our products reach the worldwide market,” she said.
Further, the DTI’s t various partner agencies like DOST, BIR, TESDA, DOLE, DA, DENR, DOT and the Local Government Units were urged to help provide assistance to the participants of the summit.
Meanwhile, Venus O. Padayao, Provincial Livelihood, Economic & Investment Promotion Officer (PLEIPO) relayed the message of Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan for the summit. She informed the weavers that the Provincial Government recognizes weaving as an important means of livelihood in the province.
Padayao informed the participants that the Provincial Government will support and provide additional training to our weavers in response to their request. Also, she said that they may seek assistance from the PLEIPO in the preparation of documentary requirements that proponents may use when applying for funding from other agencies. “Our weavers need to keep pushing so they can penetrate the market, keep innovating their designs and to avail of the services of the government, that the offices of the PLGU Mountain Province is always open for those who need assistance,” Padayao said.