SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique - Antiquenos are encouraged to patronize local products as the province joined the national observance of the "Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa and Kulturang Pilipino" this August.
Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA) administrative officer, Ma. Lourdes Fortaleza, made the call at the opening of the trade fair participated in by 25 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) at the Robinson's Mall Antique aimed at promoting local products.
"We want to help our local producers who had been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) movement restrictions be able to promote and sell their products," Fortaleza, who represented OPA chief Nicolasito Calawag, said in her message during the program.
She said with the national observance, mall-goers and the public should patronize indigenous products and showcase the culture of the Antiquenos.
Among those on display at the exhibit that will run until August 16, are muscovado sugar, banana and taro chips, and native coffee.
Information Officer Lynna Joy Cardinal of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the partner agency for the activity, said also showcased in the exhibit are non-food products, such as the handwoven or patadyong fabric.
"In the trade fair, one can see that the use of the patadyong fabric has already been diversified," Cardinal said.
The fabric is already being used as material for shoes, bags, and even earrings.
"The creativity and innovativeness of the MSMEs could be seen on the local products displayed now," she said.
Cardinal said there are also bags made of bamboo with intricate designs.
The MSME participants are graduates of the Kapatid Mentor Me Program, a mentoring program of the DTI aimed at enriching their entrepreneurial skills.
Antique Rep. Antonio Agapito Legarda said he would be championing the rights of the MSMEs.
"I am a firm believer that MSMEs are the main drivers for economic growth in our country as they make up 99.5 percent of businesses in the country and employ more than five million of the country's workforce," Legarda said in his message that was read by his representative Rhoda Pon-an.
The neophyte congressman has filed House of Representatives Bill 2603 or the "Pangkabuhayan Act of 2022" to provide support and assistance to MSMEs by giving them more funding, credit facilities, and livelihood assistance programs.
He also filed the "One Town, One Product Philippines Act of 2022" or House Bill 3417 seeking to grant financial and technical assistance to MSMEs to promote the use of local raw materials and increase job opportunities by hiring local talents. (PNA)