Thursday, May 22, 2008

Villagers pin hope in baskets

ALABEL, Sarangani (May 22, 2008) - After months of perfecting their craft, members of Sitio Ihan Livelihood Association (SILA) have sold out their first baskets to telecom giant Globe which initiated a nito and rattan weaving project in barangay Datal Anggas in December 2007.

"This is a dream come true. We now have a livelihood project for the people living in this remote barangay," said barangay chairman Caris Salimama in a press conference Tuesday (May 20).

SILA members sold 17 baskets to Globe which used it for corporate giveaways and displayed various products made of nito, rattan and bamboo at the press conference.

Jones Campos, head of Globe public relations, said that Globe is bent on helping communities develop entrepreneurial and livelihood skills across the country.

Sitio Ihan was a former rebel stronghold during the height of the communist movement.

At the village last December, 75 of its residents participated in a livelihood training of weaving baskets and other ornaments made of rattan and nito conducted by Globe Bridging Communities (Globe BridgeCom) program, Alcantara Foundation Inc., the Cottage Industries Training Center (CITC), and the provincial government. Ten of the trainees were former members of the New People's Army.

"The provincial government of Sarangani will help in linking their products to potential markets," said Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon.

Globe has also committed to buy some of SILA's products and even find a market for them.

"We want them not only to learn how to weave but also become entrepreneurs as well," said Fernando Esguerra of Globe's community relations office.

Esguerra, with representatives from ABS-CBN Bayan Foundation, Alcantara Foundation, Sarangani provincial government and CITC spent two nights and three days in Ihan last year.

"Their products will not only be sold but the story behind it will also be told," said Cecile Dominguez, executive director of Alcantara Foundation.

Globe had brought some of the weavers to Metro Manila for further enhancement of their skills.

"I realized in there (Metro Manila) that what we throw, burn and treat as garbage has value. The nito and rattan in our community will now be protected," said Salimama who added that they burn or cut rattan, bamboo and nito to give way to other crops.

"SILA has still a long way to go but they have partners who are willing to support them in this endeavor. We believe that with everyone's full cooperation, SILA would eventually reach its goal of becoming a fully-established woven handicrafts business," said Esguerra in a press statement.

"Hopefully, this genuine desire to progress from conflict and poverty would motivate others to follow suit and use what we have done in Datal Anggas as an inspiration," added Esguerra. (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE/RIO)


winlotto said...

Such a nice blog. I hope you will create another post like this.

Arjho said...

Thanks WinLotto! The information came form the Provincial Information Office of Sarangani Province. Whenever, they have culturally related news...I will surely post it in here.