Sorsogon rural women now enjoy the ease, convenience of modern equipment

BARCELONA, SORSOGON – She was a simple housewife and mother who was trying to augment her family’s income by basket weaving. She has been into handicrafts making since she was 22. She has even trained her children to help gain an additional income while at home. For each set of native baskets, weaver Estrella Estigoy, now 62, earns P400. In a month, she was earning about P8,000 to P10,000 until typhoon Nona hit the province of Sorsogon, devastating not only their properties but the forests where she derives her raw materials for handicraft making.

But she rekindled her hope when the Olandia Rural Improvement Club (RIC) qualified for a P479,742-worth of microenterprise subproject from the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP). In August 2017, the 47 members of Olandia RIC received their 5 meters x 6 meters processing center made of local materials from PRDP. The facility will house the production equipment and materials. It is also at the processing center where RIC members will do the process of stripping, drying, weaving and sewing.

However, on February 14, 2018, Estigoy found herself in the midst of another storm—a heart attack which led to mild stroke. Upon recovery, Estigoy demonstrated the same resilience innate to Bicolano women. She returned to handicraft making.

Weakened arms and legs didn’t stop her from producing new sets of baskets and other handicraft products. After all, said Estigoy, she doesn’t have to do it manually this time. Aside from the processing center, PRDP also turned over three units of sewing machine, two units of designer sewing machine, and two units of freezing machine. The Olandia RIC also received 50 units of stripping device and 47 units of scissors and knives for karagumoy and balacbac.

“Makakatulong sa amo talaga yoon kay katulad ng paghiyod baga ha, di na kami sun nagkukuan sin manu-manuhon mi, isalang mi lang, madali na, marugi na… Kumbaga masayon na sa amo, maogma na kami san amo trarabaho. (It really helped us a lot. For example, using the stripping device, we don’t have to do it manually. With these equipment, it’s easier for us. We’re happy now with our jobs),” shares Estigoy.

Other PRDP interventions include 10 units of hammer, 20 units of hat molder, 10 units of scissors for cloth, 10 units of tape measure, 10 pieces of tailor chalk, 10 bag molders, and 200 pieces needle for manual sewing.

“Para sako maogma ako talaga, proud na proud ako, grabe ang kaogmahan ko kasi yung mga ginagawa namin. May sinisirungan na kami, ako minsan nagpapagahoy ako may nadating na mga order, nagyayaya ako sa mga kaurupod ko na mahirimo kita kay may order ako irog sani na bilang nakapahimo ako, nagkakakuwarta kami, nakadanon sa mga asawa namo (I am so happy and proud with this project. We now have a shelter while doing our handicraft. Everytime I receive product orders, I invite others so we could hit the market demand. We earn money in support to our husbands),” she added.

She furthered that using the modern equipment from PRDP, she now gets a higher income because of increased production. From P100 daily, she said that her income rose to P150 per day.

“Kasi nakaluwag na an trabaho ko, may mga gamit na diri irog san manu-mano baga ako, awaton pa. Yoon, isalang ko lang sa sewing machine, madali na an ako trabaho. Daku-dako an pasalamat namo sa PRDP (Because I’m now convenient doing my job. We now have advanced equipment unlike before that we manually do our handicrafts. My work becomes easier using this sewing machine. Thank you so much to PRDP),” gratefully, she said.

PRDP will also provide the Olandia RIC with a motorcycle, a delivery and hauling vehicle and support for the fabrication of a sidecar.

The Establishment of Cottage Industry (Handicraft) in Barcelona is one of the 10 microenterprise subprojects approved by PRDP for calamity-stricken areas in Sorsogon.

PRDP is a six-year development project being implemented by the Department of Agriculture. The World Bank-assisted project is designed to establish a modern, inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agri-fishery sector in the countryside. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)