By Jason De Asis
DIPACULAO, Aurora — Some 26 residents in this town who used to earn their living by fishing are now engaged in making bamboo handicrafts.
The former fishermen are now active members of the Croppers/Sharesmen Association, Inc. (CSAI) that is being supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Shared Service Facility (SSF) project.
DTI provincial director Edna Dizon said the CSAI is one of the associations in this province that successfully managed the SSF project.
“Because of that, the ownership of the machinery and equipment under the SSF project was officially transferred in the name of the association,” Dizon said in an interview on Monday.
These are one unit each of table saw, the board saw, bench drill, air compressor, portable planner, portable drill, and portable grinder with a total cost of PHP487,500.
“It is true. Sometimes, it is not enough that you have a dream. Dreams are made for you to make it come true. This was what the CSAI did and now, they are setting a new goal where they envision themselves being one of those industries known for the beauty of their products. They know they can achieve it. They may be new in this industry, but they are willing to take the chance and make the best out of it,” she said.
Three years ago, the DTI official said they helped the group organize an association due to the hardships of being fishermen.
“Fishing goes with corresponding consequences. They have to take risks for them to survive daily. It is either they will come back to their families with something or with nothing at all. Just imagine their lives when they are out of their boats,” she said.
CSAI president Edgardo Caspe, Jr. said making a living just by fishing is hard.
“Bilang mga mangingisda, papalaot kami na umaasang may sapat kaming mahuhuli. Pero kapag wala, hindi na rin namin alam kung saan kami kukuha ng pangtustos sa mga pangangailangan namin sa araw-araw. (As fishermen, we sail out in the hope to catch enough fish. But when there is nothing, we don’t know where we were going to get the source for our daily needs. And this is the very reason why we’re eager to try new things,” Caspe said.
Thus, Dizon said the DTI did not hesitate to help the fishermen to organize an association with a proposed project on bamboo and coco-shell craft processing.
Aside from the DTI, the CSAI also availed of other support and assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the local government unit (LGU).
The CSAI members underwent handicraft training and other related workshops that are relevant to the industry they pursued.
“Now, they are producing bamboo craft such as lampshades, home furnishings, and various souvenir items like key chains, among others. Their hard work and determination have paid off,” Dizon said. (PNA)