Albay handicraft makers seek gov't support to improve production

SEEKING GOV'T HELP. Ana May Mancera, a resident of Barangay Anislag in Daraga, Albay, shows her finished basket product, as she makes an appeal to the government to help her and other basket makers in their village to improve their production. (Photo by Mike dela Rama)

DARAGA, Albay – Women handicraft makers in this municipality have appealed for technical and financial support from the government to further improve their production.

In an interview on Wednesday, Ana May Mancera, a resident of Barangay Anisla and maker of cross weave basket, said they need capital and additional skills to make their products more competitive.

“Currently, we are only being paid for labor, the materials are supplied by the contractor. We receive PHP45 per finished product,” she said.

“We spend four hours to totally finish one set of cross weave. It seems that the cost for labor alone is not enough, that is why it is high time that we organize ourselves as community women’s organization for us to have a standardized production costing and this is what we wanted to ask the government or any non-government organization,” Mancera said.

“Our supplier is the sole exporter in this town, so we have only one client, but if given a chance to manage our own business, it is a big help for us to eventually improve our economic condition,” she added.

A cross weave basket is made of “abaca” and other local materials available in Bicol Region.

According to Mancera, livelihood sustainability is their main concern. “Aside from increase in our production we also wish to have our own production of raw materials like abaca and other local handicraft materials, but this time, we do not have it.”

Fe Marbella, a 60-year-old Kenyan basket maker, noted that she only receives PHP30 per finished product. “I am a Kenyan basket maker for 30 years, and sad to say that I am receiving the same amount from our client and our product is being exported.”

The Kenyan basket is made of weaved grass and banana leaf fibers and is used for plant baskets, ethnic home decorations, wicker plates and bowls.

“I strongly agree that there should be an organization of handicraft makers in this village so that we can have our own identity and make our own products more competitive,” Marbella said.

“It is also my dream to export our product and make our village as handicraft-making capital,” she added. (By Mike Dela Rama, PNA)