Legarda asks gov’t to help boost local textile industry

Published September 9, 2020, 10:16 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Deputy Speaker and lone District Rep. Loren Legarda has asked national government agencies to support initiatives that would increase the production of local fibers.

Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda
(Congresswoman Loren Legarda Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Legarda is seeing the need to revive the local textile trade to preserve the country’s traditional weaving industry and help train and boost the income of the country’s weaving communities.

“We have the raw materials and an arable land waiting to be cultivated, all that is needed is our commitment to support our weavers and the production of local fibers in order to propagate knowledge on weaving traditions,” she said in a statement.

“To ensure the sustainability of the local textile industry, there is a need for convergence among the agencies of government involved—from the production of raw materials, to trainings and workshops, provision of equipment and materials, product development and promotion program, and a systematic marketing system,” Legarda added.

The House leader vowed continued support to the construction of weaving and processing centers in Antique.

Legarda said they already established three weaving and processing centers which, in coordination with Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFiDA), were already turned over to beneficiaries in Antique. while “another one is still ongoing construction.”

She said the Malabor Abaca and Piña Weavers Association (MAPWA) in Tibiao, Antique which was set up in March 2018, was the first recipient of the weaving and processing center.  The group is producing hand woven cloth made of abaca-silk, piña-silk, cotton and polyester.

The two other weaving and processing centers were turned over to the Sto. Rosario Multipurpose Cooperative in Pandan, and Bagtason Loom Weavers Association (BLWA) in Bugasong.

The cooperative is the producer of bags, mats, and other products made of abaca, bariw, pandan and other natural fibers. While, the BLWA  is known for making “Patadyong” and other textiles made of cotton and polyester.

Legarda said the weaving and processing center, which is currently being constructed in Patnongon, will be given to the Patnongon Multipurpose Cooperative.

She said the beneficiaries of the weaving and processing centers were also provided with handlooms, raw materials, dyeing implements, furniture, high-speed sewing machines, and other supplies, and were given various trainings to enhance their skills and improve their crafts,

She also noted the a cotton processing center is being constructed in Patnongon,  equipped with machineries and equipment for the processing of seed cotton to yarn. Once it is fully operational, it will supply cotton yarns to the local weavers in Region VI (Western Visayas), Legarda said.

Wanting to increase production of pineapple and cotton fibers, she supported the allocation under the Department of Agriculture (DA) through PhilFiDA for the established .25-hectare pineapple farm in Tibiao and the 6.65 hectares cotton farm in Patnongon.

The former senator also noted that last year, representatives from the Malabor Abaca-Piña Weavers Association were sent to Prague, Czech Republic and Geneva, Switzerland to join the National Museum’s Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Travelling Exhibition and showcase the diversity of our traditional textiles.

“I hope that through these efforts in supporting our local weavers and farmers, we can also revitalize our local textile industry and revive our love for our culture and heritage. I enjoin the government, both national and local, to continue investing their support for the local weaving industry as part of efforts to preserve our traditions and reinforce employment generation in our local communities,” Legarda said.