There is more to Guimaras Island than its world-class carabao mangoes as Vice President Sara Duterte on Thursday, Aug. 25, lauded the initiative of the island for introducing its bamboo industry as another investment opportunity that would help the province regain its losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Duterte attended the 2nd Guimaras Bamboo Summit in Jordan, Guimaras with former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to congratulate the local government and the Guimaras people for developing its bamboo industry aside from its world-class carabao mangoes.
“Isa itong palatandaan na sadyang hindi masusukat ang taglay na kayamanan ng Pilipinas — at ang kayamanang ito, kung gagamitin natin sa tamang pamamaraan, ay magbibigay sa atin ng dagdag na hanap-buhay (This is another reminder that the natural riches of the Philippines are immeasurable—and these riches, if we will use them properly, will provide us additional jobs),” the Vice President said.
“But there is more to Guimaras apart from its world-class mangoes — and I am truly pleased to know that local government officials and the people of the island are helping each other, supporting each other, promote the Guimaras bamboo industry,” she added.
Duterte, who serves as Education secretary in a concurrent capacity, said the industry, which provides income opportunities, “will benefit local farmers, bamboo artisans, and traders, who will be instrumental in establishing and improving the value chain.”
The national government is behind these efforts to boost economic opportunities in the province since Duterte revealed that the Philippine Chamber of Commerce “will gather industry players in the Visayas Region on Friday — to talk about ways to move forward, rebuild from their losses, and develop creative approaches to investment in a world we now call ‘the new normal’.”
She placed special emphasis on the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) community, which is also eager to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Duterte also likened the Filipinos’ resiliency to the characteristics of the bamboo.
Meanwhile, the Vice President also took the opportunity of visiting Guimaras to distribute her ‘PagbaBAGo’ kits to some 500 students.
The bags contain school supplies and dental kits.
As Education chief, she has been campaigning “to instill the importance of acquiring proper education and nurturing the right attitudes to succeed.”
“Sa ating mga (To our) learners, simple lang po ang paalala natin, hindi po ang mga bag ang magpapabago ng buhay ninyo. Ang magpapabago ng buhay ninyo ay ‘yung determinasyon ninyo na magtagumpay at ang sipag ninyo na mag-aral (we have a simple reminder, it’s not the bag that will change your life. Your determination to succeed and your diligence in studying are what will change your life),” Duterte said.
Calling education “the greatest equalizer”, the Vice President reminded the students that proper education and pursuing higher education “will pave the way for greater opportunities which will eventually bring them better and comfortable living.”
Aside from the students, mothers also received food packages to augment the needs of the family.
Duterte also asked parents to practice family planning, particularly about their family size so they can provide the necessities of their children, including proper education.
“At sa ating mga magulang, kailangan po meron tayong pagplano sa ating pamilya para po hindi umiikot nang umiikot ang kahirapan diyan sa loob ng ating pamilya dahil napapaniguro natin na makakapagtapos ang ating mga anak ng pag-aaral (And to our parents, we need to plan our family so poverty will not be in a cycle in our family because we can make sure our children will finish school),” she stressed.