Small Negros facility plays big role in Apec
WHEN leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit wore their barong Tagalog, little did they know that part of the fiber that was used to make the clothes came from Negros Occidental province, made through a Japanese nongovernment organization (NGO)-funded livelihood project.
Silk made by Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA) training center in Bago City in Negros Occidental formed part of the fabric of the barong that was made by renowned fashion designer Paul Cabral and which won praises.
Cabral has been quoted as saying silk was added to the fabric to make the barong more comfortable.
The fabric used for the Apec attires were woven by the La Herminia Piña Weaving Industry in Old Buswang Kalibo, Aklan, according to its production manager Alan Tumbokon.
Tumbokon said the silk in the fabric they wove for the Apec delegates’ barong came from the OISCA training center.
OISCA produces 1.5 tons of silk yarn annually, or 90 percent of the country’s production, according to Shigemi Watanabe, director of the OISCA training center in Bago.
OISCA is an NGO founded and based in Japan but which extends help to developing countries, mostly in Asia and the Pacific with agriculture as its main thrust.
The production facility in Bago City provides income for 195 Negrense farmers engaged in sericulture, workers in mulberry fields and weavers, according to Thelma Watanabe.
Even Empress Michiko of Japan has taken great interest in the silk produced by the Bago facility which she discussed at length with Shigemi Watanabe during the 50th anniversary of OISCA.
The silk-producing facility could be an example of the kind of competitiveness that Apec members strive for and which a legislator, said the Aquino administration, should fight for.
In a statement, Rep. Win Gatchalian said the amount invested by the Philippine government on hosting the Apec summit should result in more competitive businesses and workers in the country.
“President Aquino should ensure that the people get their money’s worth by aggressively pushing for policies which will utilize regional trade to enhance inclusive economic growth here at home,” said Gatchalian.
Gatchalian, whose family is engaged in various businesses, said engaging the participation of small and medium enterprises in economic policies and increasing investments on human capital development are two strategies that could further strengthen Philippine role in regional trade.
“Rapid inclusive growth can be achieved by creating a favorable business environment for entrepreneurs and moderate-sized companies,” said Gatchalian. With a report from Carla P. Gomez, Inquirer Visayas
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