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PIA Press Release

DTI formally launches Project Bayong in Cebu

Cebu, Philippines (21 June) -- To provide a source of income for Filipinos affected by the global financial crisis, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) formally launched "Project Bayong" in Cebu last June 12 during the Kalayaan 2009, a Philippine Independence Day celebration.

During the trade and livelihood fair held at SM City Cebu on June 12 - 14, Bayong utility and fashion bags were on display and bayong weaving was demonstrated to the public.

Project Bayong highlights the hand-woven native bag made of pandan, rattan or buri.

There are several advantages to Project Bayong. It generates employment, maximizes use of indigenous raw materials and provides an alternative for the environmentally conscious.

Project Bayong also supports micro-entrepreneurship. The production of bayong entails low investment, it requires light technology, it preserves our cultural heritage and augments income of rural folks.

Project Bayong is also one way for the government to address environmental degradation in the country aggravated by a high annual population growth rate and improper disposal of solid and toxic wastes, among others.

In the last four months (February-May) DTI initiated a series of product development trainings which include basic skills in bayong weaving, skills upgrading and dyeing techniques.

As of May 2009, Project Bayong has been rolled out to 11 municipalities in Central Visayas. Around 11 basic skills trainings, 5 trainings in dyeing techniques, 6 trainings in skills upgrading benefited 605 people. The municipalities where trainings were held include Barili, Bogo, San Remegio, Sta Fe, Bantayan Island in Cebu; Manjuyod and La Libertad in Negros Oriental; Talibon, Bienvenido, Ubay in Bohol; San Juan, Siquijor in Siquijor.

With more people seeking environment friendly products, there is now an increase in demand for bayong in the domestic and international markets, according to DTI.

The DTI is currently working in coordination with the local government, non-government organizations, retailers and exporters for the project. This is intended to provide sustainable livelihood for the people and create more entrepreneurs.

To implement the project, DTI has partnered with Gateway East, a Manila-based private company that advocates waste reduction and an end to the use of plastic bags.

Project Bayong is a component of the Comprehensive Livelihood Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) of the national government and one of several poverty-alleviation programs.

The CLEEP is a nationwide effort by the government to protect the country's most vulnerable sectors --- such as the poor, returning expatriates, workers in the export industry, and out of school youths, from threats and consequences of reduced and lost income as a consequence of the global economic crisis --- by providing emergency employment and supervising livelihood projects.

The program aims to build the capacities of Filipino workers and afford them the skills they need to compete in tougher job markets, and to create as many jobs in the least possible amount of time for the poor through investments in enterprise development.

There are a lot of reasons to favor Project Bayong, a government project that is meant not only to provide jobs but also utilize abundant raw materials in the region and replace non-biodegradable items.

Project Bayong supports micro-entrepreneurship. The production of bayong entails low investment, it requires light technology, it generates employment, it maximizes use of indigenous materials, it is an alternative bag for the environmentally conscious, it augments income of rural folks, it preserves our cultural heritage, it provides incentive for farmers to plant natural materials.

Project Bayong aims to take advantage of abundant raw materials, use existing skills in rural areas and produce products which are in demand in local and international markets.

Recently, the Cebu City government introduced a proposed measure to regulate the use of plastic and styrofoam packaging materials. If passed after its third reading, the measure imposes a fine of P1,000 for first offense, P2,000 for second offense, and P5,000 for third offense.

Project Bayong has so far been successfully launched in Cebu and Bohol in 2009.

The municipality of Barili was chosen by DTI as a launch site for the project in Cebu because Barili is noted for its bayong craftsmanship. Residents make use of local pandan material.

Training sessions in other areas in Cebu are ongoing. These include basic skills in bayong-weaving, upgrading of skills to those who are currently into weaving and dyeing techniques where various colors could be integrated to increase the marketability of the bayong.

For Bohol, Project Bayong has been launched in Talibon. As in Cebu, there are trainings currently held in other areas in Bohol. (PIA) [top]

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