Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:39 AM February 03, 2013
Micro, small and medium enterprises, or MSMEs, comprise 99.6 percent of the total business enterprises operating in the country. But apart from being the lifeblood of the Philippine economy, they are seen by a senator as “powerful platforms for the promotion of viable livelihoods, cultural preservation, socioeconomic empowerment for indigenous people, and environmental protection.”
As the author of the Magna Carta for micro, small and medium enterprises, which was enacted as Republic Act No. 9501 in 2008, Sen. Loren Legarda’s work with MSMEs brings together two advocacies close to her heart—livelihood and indigenous peoples.
Senator Legarda has launched several initiatives to make sure that support is available for projects of micro-entrepreneurs around the country. For instance, the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines has opened doors of opportunity to weaving communities and Schools of Living Traditions to showcase their textiles.
The Hibla Pavilion featured SLTs such as the Ivatans of Batanes; the Ga’dangs of Mountain Province; the Hanunuo Mangyans and Iraya Mangyans of Mindoro; the Panay Bukidnons of Iloilo; the Subanens of Zamboanga del Norte; the Ata Manobos of Davao del Norte; the T’bolis of South Cotabato; and the B’laans of Sarangani, among other cultural communities.
Furthermore, in Region 11, Senator Legarda supported “the development of cultural villages of the Ata Manobos, the Mandayas, the B’laans and the Bagobo Tagabawas, and various activities of their Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs), which teach the young generation the traditional arts, crafts, music and practices of the village.”
During a visit to Kultura Filipino at SM Makati, Senator Legarda was happy to discover how the store’s Crafts for a Cause program shares her advocacy for micro-entrepreneurship.
“I find Kultura’s support for micro-entrepreneurial programs laudable, and I hope more business ventures would follow and consider such an exemplary and worthwhile business venture,” she said.
Upon seeing the products, she added that she “was not surprised that they were of world-class quality. Kultura is a concrete manifestation of the Filipino’s innate ingenuity and artistry.”
Kultura Filipino’s Crafts for a Cause program brings together products from livelihood programs of partner nonprofit organizations. These products are made by underprivileged members of society trained by various foundations through livelihood programs aimed at enriching lives and making them self-sufficient.
These products showcase the skills of artisans from cultural communities around the country as far north as the Cordilleras and as far south as Basilan. There are woven bags from the Cordillera Network of Development NGOs and POs (CordNet); and wooden sculptures from the Banglos Sculptors of Quezon Province to help fishermen and farmers.
Further south, the Palawan NGO Network Inc. and the Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation showcase their crafts and weaves of women who live in fishing villages and farming communities, respectively. Crafts for a Cause also highlights fashion items from the indigenous people of South Cotabato through NNJ Crafts and the Samal Badjaos from Basilan through the Claret Samal Foundation.
The best part of buying Kultura Filipino’s exquisite Crafts for a Cause items is that these help support the livelihood programs of partner nonprofit organizations.
Kultura Filipino is located in SM Makati, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM City Cebu, SM Lanang Premier, and in selected SM stores.