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PIA Press Release

Abakawayan expo in Sidlakang Negros ongoing

By Jennifer Catan-Tilos

Dumaguete City (20 November) -- The holding of Abakawayan exposition in Sidlakan Negros Village from November 18-22, this year generate awareness the importance of natural fiber and bamboo industries that might address the projected growing demand and market its by-products not only in the local but also in national setting.

Negros Oriental Investment & Promotion Center (NOIPC) Executive Director Francisco Martinez is optimistic that abaca and bamboo industries in the province will actually grow and develop more from propagating, planting raw materials to manufacturing and even in marketing.

Bamboo, once looked upon as a lowly plant and called a poor man's timber because of its widespread use in rural constructions, has gained greater importance through the years.

While abaca plant is of great economic importance, being harvested for its fibre,called Manila hemp, extracted from the large, oblong leaves and stems. It is one of the dollar earning industries in the country, giving an average annual earning of P4.5 billion to the economy

Francisco Martinez said, banks are enjoined to participate and take the lead in helping finance the farmers and entrepreneurs in the province in the production of abaca and bamboo products.

For his part, Provincial Governor Emilio Macias II also encouraged the local government units to teach or re-educate the farmers in the planting of bamboo and abaca to strengthen the province's indigenous materials and produce more supply to meet the demands.

Governor Macias gladly expressed the cooperativeness and support of the non-government organizations in the development and promotion of the industry. With the establishment of Sidlakan Negros Village Center, manufacturers and entrepreneurs are also grateful that they have a place to display their products.

Meantime, some P6 billion-fund were released to the women clients of microfinance as of June this year said Microfinance Consultant Eduardo C. Jimenez of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in a forum held in Iloilo City, recently.

Jimenez, who discussed on the topic Microfinance said that about 95% of microfinance clients in the country come from the women sector.

"Helping the poor help themselves" is the essence of microfinancing, said Jimenez as he explained that microfinance is the provision of a broad range of financial services such as deposits, loans, payment services, money transfers/remittances and insurance products to the poor and low-income households for their microenterprises and small businesses, to enable them to raise their income levels and improve their living standards. (PIA) [top]

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