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Legarda Continues to Boost Antique Weaving Traditions, Encourages Local Government to Support Weaving Communities

September 7, 2020

Recognizing the significance of weaving traditions to preserve the history of Antique, cultivate traditional knowledge and artistry, generate income and create opportunities for the Antiqueños, Deputy Speaker and Antique Lone District Representative Loren Legarda continues to invest invaluable support to the weaving communities of her home province and encourages government agencies to support such initiatives to boost the local textile industry.

In coordination with Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFiDA), Legarda supported the allocation to establish weaving centers in Antique. Three (3) weaving and processing centers were already established and turned over to beneficiaries, while another one is still ongoing construction.

Among the beneficiaries of the weaving and processing centers in the province of Antique is the Malabor Abaca and Piña Weavers Association (MAPWA) in Tibiao, which was established in March 2018 and is producing hand woven cloth made of abaca-silk, piña-silk, cotton and polyester. Last year, two (2) additional weaving and processing centers were established. One was turned over to the Sto. Rosario Multipurpose Cooperative in Pandan, which is producing bags, mats, and other products made of abaca, bariw, pandan and other natural fibers. The other was turned over to the Bagtason Loom Weavers Association (BLWA) in Bugasong. The association is known for making “Patadyong” and other textiles made of cotton and polyester. Another weaving and processing center is currently being constructed in Patnongon to be utilized by the Patnongon Multipurpose Cooperative.

Aside from the weaving and processing centers that the beneficiaries use as a production and display area, they were also provided with handlooms, raw materials, dyeing implements, furniture, high-speed sewing machines, and other supplies that could assist them in increasing their production.

To enhance their skills and improve their crafts, various trainings were also provided to members of their organizations and cooperatives such as training on dyeing using natural dyes available in the locality; trainings on basic weaving and advance handloom weaving to enhance skills in design and color combination; and trainings on heddle making and bag making.

PhilFIDA also partnered with the Antique Development Foundation (ADF) for the conduct of training on abaca fiber extraction using hand-stripping device. Through Legarda’s initiative, the ADF received four (4) handlooms with accessories to produce hand-woven products made of natural fiber, while 80 abaca farmer-beneficiaries received improved hand-stripping device to increase productivity of fiber producers and also to increase the fiber supply needed in the market.

In a bid to increase production of pineapple and cotton fibers, Legarda also supported the allocation under the Department of Agriculture (DA) through PhilFiDA for the established .25-hectare pineapple farm in Tibiao and the 6.65 hectares cotton farm in Patnongon. Moreover, a cotton processing center is being constructed in Patnongon complete with machineries and equipment for the processing of seed cotton to yarn which, when fully operational, will supply cotton yarns to the local weavers in Region VI.

“We have to revive the local textile industry to preserve our traditional weaving industry and to provide farmers and weavers additional sources of income. We have the raw materials and an arable land waiting to be cultivated, all that is needed is our commitment to support our weavers and the production of local fibers in order to propagate knowledge on weaving traditions,” Legarda said.

“To ensure the sustainability of the local textile industry, there is a need for convergence among the agencies of government involved—from the production of raw materials, to trainings and workshops, provision of equipment and materials, product development and promotion program, and a systematic marketing system,” Legarda added.

Through Legarda’s initiative, local weaving communities were also given the opportunity to be recognized in the global scene in partnership with the National Museum. Last year, representatives from the Malabor Abaca-Piña Weavers Association were sent to Prague, Czech Republic and Geneva, Switzerland to join the National Museum’s Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Travelling Exhibition and showcase the diversity of our traditional textiles.

Legarda also acknowledge the potential of Antique’s weaving industry and local crafts as the driving force of sustainable development and inclusive growth in the province amid the challenges of modernization. She has actively supported the participation of weaving communities in trade fairs such as the National Arts and Crafts Fair (NACF) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Manila FAME, the Center for International Trade and Exposition Missions (CITEM), and Department of Tourism’s (DOT) Antique Harvest and the Philippine Harvest.

“I hope that through these efforts in supporting our local weavers and farmers, we can also revitalize our local textile industry and revive our love for our culture and heritage. I enjoin the government, both national and local, to continue investing their support for the local weaving industry as part of efforts to preserve our traditions and reinforce employment generation in our local communities,” Legarda concluded. #