A GROUP is pushing for sustainable development and social enterprising among indigenous peoples (IPs) and women belonging to the marginalized sector in Binalbagan town.
Checcs Osmeña-Orbida, vice president of the PeacePond Farmers Association (PFA), Friday, February 15, said there is currently an effort to further boost the craftsmanship and culinary skills of IPs and women groups in the locality.
Osmeña-Orbida said their organization forms part of the IP Support Group which initiated the “Showcase of Purely Binalbaganon Products” at the town’s Veteran Heroes Park on Thursday.
Other collaborating groups and volunteers included the local government unit (LGU) led by Mayor Emmanuel Aranda, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO), and IP local coordinator Pablito Gonzales.
“The activity mainly aims to showcase the Alayon IP Crafts and Dagyaw Food Services Group, which are products of various development interventions previously provided by PFA and local government,” she added.
The Alayon IP Crafts is a brand given to handicrafts and other products produced by members of Ituman-Magahat-Bukidnon, a group of eight IP associations in the southern Negros Occidental locality.
These IP associations comprised the Federation of Indigenous Peoples Associations in Binalbagan (FIPAB).
Dagyaw Food Services Group, meanwhile, is composed of women groups with members who are housewives, fisherfolk, and beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), among others.
They were earlier trained on basic catering services including customer relations.
Alayon and Dagyaw are both dialects which mean “bayanihan” or the act of helping each member of the community.
Osmeña-Orbida recalled they discovered that the IPs in the town have skills in weaving pandan and abaca though, they lack product development.
So they conducted workshops on product development as well as social enterprise and financial management last year.
Osmeña-Orbida said such effort has resulted to such brand of pandan and abaca-made crafts.
“We also incorporated organic farming because they have to plant abaca and pandan so the approach was from planting down to weaving,” she said, adding that they were also taught of vermiculture as an additional livelihood.
Since they need a “space” to sell their products, the association utilized Facebook to initially sell the Alayon IP Crafts online.
The PFA also revived the Dagyaw Food Services Group, whose members are recipients of various skills training including food processing conducted by the LGU about a few years ago.
Through the Sustainable Livelihood Program - Bottom-Up Budgeting (SLP-BUB) of the government, these products were able to be showcased during the said activity.
Among the Alayon IP Crafts products displayed included the “Libon Kwadro” or woven pandan basket without handle; “Libon Timbulog” or pen holders and of other materials; and “Sobre Bags” or pouches with an envelope-like shape.
In support to the town's “No Plastic Holiday” initiative, the IPs are also producing “bayongs” or native bags.
The activity, attended by about 115 IPs, also showcased the actual weaving of pandan and abaca.
For the Dagyaw group, they showcased a 48-foot snack table filled with food and delicacies like the “Purple Rice Passion” made of sticky rice with ube topping, cream and cheese, siomai, “linupak” made of banana, and cassava ball, among others.
Osmeña-Orbida said the women-members really cook well, they just need support to tap more clients.
In response, the LGU has already expressed the intention to establish a showroom for Alayon and Dagyaw products and services.
Once realized, Osmeña-Orbida said this would serve as a sustainable “space” for the IP and women groups to promote their products and generate more income and livelihood opportunities for their members.
“Aside from capacitating the groups, promote their products and attracting potential buyers, the activity has also empowered their members,” she said, stressing that “this is not purely business, but a social enterprise because there is caring for the environment and preservation of cultural practices components.”
Moreover, after the launching, Dagyaw was able to have booked for catering service in April.
The IPs, on the other hand, has obtained support from the Philippine Fiber Development Authority in the form of abaca and pandan seedlings and product development interventions.
“PeacePond as a learning site accredited by the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute, through this endeavor, is able to incorporate its programs on environmental protection and conservation, sustainable development, organic, and natural farming method,” Osmeña-Orbida said.
Meanwhile, also present during the activity were representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry, National Commission on Indigenous People, and Provincial Tourism Office, among others.*