Ilocos town officials seek assistance for development of blacksmith industry
By Freddie G. Lazaro
Santa, Ilocos Sur (February 6) -- Santa municipal officials led by Mayor Jeremy Jesus "JJ" Bueno III are seeking financial support assistance from the local and national government for the sustainable development of their blacksmith industry here.
According to Vice Mayor Jesus "Popoy" Bueno, the town needs a sufficient budget for the improvement on the quality of their blacksmith products to compete in the local and national markets or even in the world market.
"Although our "bolo" products had already been prominent in the local markets in province, we need some improvement to its quality to become more attractive to costumers," the vice mayor said.
"Our bolo products are also popularly known in Hawaii, USA because some residents, who are natives from our town, are oftenly bringing the metal product there after having a short vacation here," he added.
He disclosed that his town is only a 4th class in the income classification by the national government in which the meager development fund share from its annual Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) is not even enough to finance their other priority infrastructure projects. This is to consider that the town had 26 barangays.
"Our local government has an all-out support our blacksmith industry but we need sufficient funds as seed capital for our metal products' improvement to meet the standards in the world markets," he told.
Bolo making is one of the prominent blacksmith livelihoods in Santa town. It is a primitive livelihood of the town's local folks as it has been exist before the Spanish colonial period. Aside from bolo with different sizes, the town produces other blacksmith products such as scythe, knives and farm implement.
He cited the blacksmith industry as potential source of income and job generation in the countryside.
Godofredo Borje, owner of the Mang Gody's Blacksmith located along the national highway in Barangay Sacuyya Norte, Santa, Ilocos Sur, said that blacksmithing is the source of his livelihood since his birth. He owned one of some remaining blacksmith shops in the town.
He disclosed that some blacksmith shops in their town had already been closed due to lack of capital.
He said that the remaining blacksmith shops in their town are in need of enough seed capital for their production of more attractive but quality metal products.
Mang Gody, who has been weakling now, had acquired the help of his neighbor in the production of bolo in his "Blacksmith Shop."
Among his helpers are brothers Roberto Banez, 52, and Gil Banez, 50, of Barangay Sacuyya, Sur, Santa town; Rolly Corpuz and Jonathan Saratoo; both resindents from Sacuyya Norte.
As per record, the Santa town's blacksmith industry had produced 750 to 100 pieces of Bolos a month; 600 to 700 pieces of knives a month; and 600 to 700 pieces of scythe a month.
The price of bolos ranges from P350.00 to P600.00 depending on its sizes.
Some of the raw materials being used in the blacksmith are the springbar and the carabao/cow horns. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]