By Ben Rosario
The House of Representatives has declared Catanduanes as the abaca capital of the Philippines.
With a 162-0 vote in a recent session, House Bill 8282 was approved on third and final reading in the Lower Chamber.
Authored by Catanduanes Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento, HB 8282 recognizes the province for its role in pursuing rural development through the production of abaca.
Sarmiento said the bill acknowledges the vital contribution of Catanduanes in making the Philippines the largest producers of abaca fiber in the world.
The country’s export earnings have tremendously increased while small farmers in the countryside have been provided with steady livelihood as a result of abaca.
According to Sarmiento, the Philippines is supplying 87 percent of the world’s abaca requirement and Catanduanes is the principal source of the supply.
Abaca fiber also known as Manila hemp is extensively used around the world for ropes, marine cordage, woven fabrics, tea bags and many others.
Abaca fiber remains popular than synthetic fibers like rayon and nylon because it has a higher tensile strength and remains durable even in wet or dry condition.
Sarmiento lauded the House Committee on Agriculture chaired by Anac IP Rep. Jose T. Panganiban Jr. for fast-tracking the approval of the measure.