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You are here: Home News Blog Mindanao News Blog Wives of former Moro rebels weave for fashion market

Wives of former Moro rebels weave for fashion market

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By BEVERLY C. PAOYON MALAPATAN, Sarangani (April 28, 2012) – Wives and relatives of former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels accepted a P2-million trading center Thursday (April 26) to serve as weaving and display area of their handloom woven products. The facility was constructed from the counterpart funds of 70% from the United States [...]

By BEVERLY C. PAOYON
Wives of former Moro rebels weave for fashion market

MALAPATAN, Sarangani (April 28, 2012) – This file photo shows malong weaver Aiza Joy Udan, a member of the Balungis Women’s Association, weaving a malong in princess design she learned from a skills training in Cotabato City. (Cocoy Sexcion/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

MALAPATAN, Sarangani (April 28, 2012) – Wives and relatives of former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels accepted a P2-million trading center Thursday (April 26) to serve as weaving and display area of their handloom woven products. The facility was constructed from the counterpart funds of 70% from the United States Agency for International Development’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (USAID-GEM) and 30% jointly funded by the provincial and local government of Sarangani and Malapatan. According to USAID-GEM, this facility “has helped streamline production and sales of the products, which are being considered for promotion to fashion designers in Cebu and Manila by the Department of Trade and Industry.” Senator Loren Legarda attended the turn-over of Balungis Trading Center and handlooms to the Balungis Moro Women’s Association. She expressed full support to the livelihood project being the author of Republic Act 9242 or the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law which advocates for the local textile industry. RA 9242 primarily prescribes “the use of the Philippine tropical fabrics for uniforms of public officials and employees and for other purposes.” “Pinong-pino. Maganda. Maganda ang handmade work ninyo,” Legarda said, referring to the women’s products. The senator bought all their displayed handloom woven shawls. Among the products of the Balungis Women’s Association that trademarked Malapatan’s best are shawls and handloom cloth traditionally called as “malong”. Abdulnasser Suib, municipal councilor of Malapatan, described these as “artistically crafted with highly imaginative designs and styles, and carefully knitted in different shades and color.” Suib added the trading facility would be the one-stop-shop to display these products along with the town’s other local products like “tinagtag”, a Moro delicacy made of rice. “Dapat talaga bigyan ng kabuhayan ang ating mga kababaihan pati na ang kalalakihan thru handlooms and backtrack looms, yung traditional way of weaving ng magagamit na fabrics for Philippine fabrics na gawa sa ating kamay, galing sa ating mga harvests whether it is banana or pina or cotton or abaca,” Legarda said. Legarda pointed out the collaboration of putting up a trading facility for these Moro women who organized themselves into an association is a laudable initiative that “despite the hard times we are able to get things better forward” and hoped this to be replicated in many other areas in Sarangani. “Ito siguro ay maaring gawing ehemplo hindi lamang sa Sarangani kundi sa ibat-ibang lugar sa Mindanao at sa buong bansa. Dahil sa hirap ng panahon at buhay ay kailangan talaga magkaroon ng self employment. We will have self employment opportunities such as what you’re doing here,” Legarda told the women’s group. “Ang pagbabalik sa habi ay napakahalaga. Hindi lang trabaho ay binibigay n’yan pati na rin ang pagpapahalaga ng ating kultura.” USAID-Philippines deputy mission director Reed Aeschliman said “the government of the Philippines is taking extensive efforts to respond to the needs of the people of Mindanao and we the United States and USAID is proud to be part of this (endeavor).” “The United States government thru USAID is hoping to carry out this development project because we appreciate the fact that the people in this area have chosen to improve their communities and improve the lives of their families. So we are happy for the opportunity to help you do that and make things better in Mindanao,” Aeschliman said. Aeschliman added that their “commitment to Mindanao is future in long standing and far reaching. We appreciate the partnerships … and we hope that the successful completion of this project will inspire others to make the people of Mindanao to also work for the economic goal and peaceful development of this beautiful island.” USAID is helping to accelerate economic growth in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao where it constructed more than 1,400 infra projects and targets to build additional 150 projects until the end of 2012. The USAID said “these facilities support economic development and demonstrate the continuing commitment of both the Philippine and U.S. government in fostering peace and development in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.” “An important part of the USAID-GEM’s Target Commodity Expansion Project is its Former Combatant Reintegration assistance activity that helps create economic opportunities and promote peace in MNLF communities,” it added. For more news and updates, please visit the Province of Sarangani . Come and enjoy Sarangani Bay Festival on May 18-19, 2012. (Beverly C. Paoyon/SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE)

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