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BAGUIO CITY - Loom weaving industry is a tradition of craftsmanship passed on from generation to generation in the province of Abra.  It is a means of sustenance for the day to day living which keeps each family alive.  It is also a keepsake from great grandparents and other ancestors that binds the community.

Happy faces from the beneficiaries of the “Development of Indigenous Designs for Loom Weaving Industry cum Training Production” project welcome the DOLE – Abra staff headed by Mr. George Lubin in their center where quality hand woven loom products with intricate and colorful designs are made.

Ms. Teresita S. Obngayan, 64 years old and a mother of six had been a domestic helper in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Cyprus for more than 10 years but returned to the Philippines for good after the gulf war.

“I am very joyful to recall how we, the association’s beneficiaries, cope with the difficulties of finding a government agency that will provide weaving inputs so we can pursue a loom weaving project to supplement our meager income from farming”, said Ms. Obngayon, President of the San Ramon West Loom Weaving Association.

She added that before they were provided with livelihood assistance from the Department of labor and Employment (DOLE), they relied on rice farming for subsistence and struggled to find odd jobs to help their spouses provide the family’s basic necessities and good education for their children.

Most of the association members are housewives who are into piggery, rice farming and part time weavers.  They start their day by feeding their pigs while others tend their fields early in the morning to do rice farming activities.

“She said ‘Our journey was a rough one as we are not organized; we painstakingly complied with the requirements and we waited for our request for assistance was granted by DOLE through the assistance of the Public Employment and Services Office (PESO) Manabo and  Manabo Mayor Darrel Domasing”.

“We are fortunate when we started because the Manabo Municipal Government offered us to weave their barong uniforms and also Mr. Rodrigo Amasi, Sangguniang Bayan member of Manabo provided the association a building to be used for free as a common project site and training area for weavers of the association.

Also, to further enhance the capacity of the organization to manage their project, the DOLE has provided them with various trainings/orientations such as 5S, ISTIV, Business and Work Improvement, WODP Trainings on Organizational and Financial Management, Safety and Health, and General Labor Standards. It is also one of the projects enrolled by DOLE-CAR under the DOLE Sustainable Livelihood Framework, a strategic response under the DILP, which aims to facilitate the transition of livelihood projects into competitive and sustainable enterprise.

Today, the association is helping 20 members from 12 in 2013 that are weaving and/or sewing products on a per order basis, though display products are available for walk-in customers. The 20 members who have given their full time for the project are now earning an average monthly income of P 5,500.00 from P1,500.00 before the assistance.

As orders are coming, the association members bought additional “telars” to help new members and also the challenge to compete in bigger markets.

“With positive work attitude, cooperation from members and creation of indigenous designs, the challenge is not a remote possibility. Weavers with positive attitudes tend to be more productive workers because they always see the accompanying opportunity with every challenge”, Teresita disclosed.

When asked, what have they learn throughout their experiences? They commonly said “working or having a common project site like their set up is more enjoyable. It makes the work “light” or less stressful. Teamwork is a must for a project to be successful”.   

END/Patrick Rillorta with reports from George Lubin, DOLE Abra.

Approved for release:

Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman

OIC Regional Director

Dir.Exequiel Guzman
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