prisoners and IPs sustain livelihood adaptable to the pandemic
May 18, 2020
MAKATI CITY –
Helping the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) cope with
the prolonged economic slowdown brought about by the COVID-19
lockdown, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through its
Regional Operations Group (ROG) spearheaded by Undersecretary
Blesila Lantayona, has been dynamic and responsive to the needs of
the sector equipping them to venture into opportunities fit in the
del Norte introduced to Gleizl Joy Cabahug Soo of Modishchey
Creations the idea of producing reusable and fashionable face masks
made of banana fibers. This is part of the office’s assistance to
the company to sustain its business operation and to provide
employment amid the constraints brought by the current situation.
Modishchey Creations came
up with a line of fashion pieces using the banana fiber woven
textile. This fiber is called “musa” that derives from the
scientific name of banana. Using the musa fabric as the main
material of the textile, Soo incorporated her creation with a
sustainable textile produced by Davao del Norte’s Indigenous People
(IP) women weavers as well as the prisoners or people deprived of
liberty (PDLs. These banana fiber woven textiles are the output of
DTI’s initiative last year, the training on banana fiber weaving
among the IPs and the prisoners.
DTI has noted the primary
aim of this project, which is to promote sustainable livelihood for
the IPs especially among the prisoners who have no means of
providing for their families.
Within a short period
after its introduction to the market on May 8, 2020, a total of 60
pieces were already sold. Aside from this, Soo received an order of
1,000 pieces from Visayas and as far as the United States.
Soo’s new product line has
initially provided jobs to seven tailors and 20 weavers. It is also
expected to expand and generate more income for them as the musa
fabric is keen on widening its market.
Meanwhile, DTI-Davao del
Norte is committed to continue its support to the project, which is
being seen to sustain the banana fiber production through the
Department’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) program as well. Weavers
in six communities in the different municipalities of Davao del
Norte were already trained. They are now ready to be tapped whenever
there is an increase in the volume requirement.
Apart from the face masks,
Modishchey Creations has also created washable bags and fashion
dresses featured during the 22nd Araw ng Tagum and the 10th
Anniversary of the Fashion Designers Alliance of the Philippines in
Taguig City. Further, with the encouragement of DTI, Soo filed its
trademark application for MUSA Fabric last February 21.
The province of Davao del
Norte is known as the “Banana Capital of the Philippines” since it
is home to several major banana plantations and small producers. In
fact, the industry is driving the export performance of the
province. With the banana textile face masks and other MUSA Fabric
products, the industry is surely adding more value, especially with
the introduction of post-Corona Fashion. Moreover, it will also give
an opportunity for additional income among weavers, designers and