By Raymund Antonio
The construction of a weaving center, through Vice President Leni Robredo’s flagship Angat Buhay program, officially started on Wednesday in Lamitan, Basilan.
Robredo, along with local officials, led the groundbreaking ceremony for the weaving center for the women weavers of Yakan Tribe living in Lamitan City.
In a media interview, Robredo said they target to have the weaving center built by June next year.
“Iyong pinaka-target, hindi matagal iyong…ilang months lang yata iyong paggawa, pero pinaka-target na inauguration nito siguro sa June 2020,” the lady official said.
(Our main target, it won’t be long…the construction will only take a few months, but the inauguration probably will be in June 2022.)
The groundbreaking took place more than a year after Robredo’s office expressed commitment to construct the weaving center to help 447 Yakan weavers in their livelihood.
Lamitan City has been a beneficiary area of Angay Buhay to provide support to the tribe members, who weave traditional “tennun” textile outside of their houses.
The Office of the Vice President partnered with C.C Buencamino Architecture for the construction of the weaving center. They have been linked to various social enterprises to have better access to market and increase their profit.
Robredo said they wanted a weaving center to be built in the area so the Yakan weavers would no longer work under various elements.
“They weave outside of their houses under the heat of the sun and rain. So the time of their work are inconsistent because of it,” she told reporters in Filipino.
“Second, because they don’t have access to the market, those who buy their products are sellers. Instead they earn more, they will not be able to do that,” Robredo said.
The OVP and its partners will design and build the weaving center complete with toilet and display area for the finished products. Yakan women weavers make placemats, malongs and table runners.
“Kaya iyong ating Angat Buhay donors nagsabi sila na, “kung magpapatayo lang naman tayo, gawin na nating, parang forward-looking. Na maging dadayuhin ssiya ng mga kababayan natin dito.” Kaya kung nakikita niyo iyong design, inakma talaga siya sa kultura at sining ng Yakan,” she said.
(This is the reason why Angat Buhay donors said, if we will build a facility, let us make it forward-looking. So our countrymen will go here. That’s why if you see the design, it really fits the culture and arts of Yakan.)