CAGAYAN VALLEY — The Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), recently paid a visit in Cagayan last 18-20 January 2023 to evaluate the current ‘bakong’ ecosystem so as to properly identify strategies that would ensure the availability of the material to meet the present and future demands.

A courtesy call to ARD Winston T. Singun (DTI R2) and PD Henry O. Conel, Jr. (DTI R2- Cagayan) was made by the DCP Team headed by Dr. Rose Marie Mendoza (Research Division Chief), Ms. Marilyn Munio (Bakong Project Lead and Senior Materials Researcher), and Michiko Ong (Junior Materials Researcher) on 18 January, 2023. Also present were DC Ramil Garcia (DTI R2- SMEDD), DC Cynthia Talattad (DTI R2-Cagayan), Mr. Renmark Marcelo (DTI R2-SMEDD) and Ms. Rosemarie Batang (DTI R2- IDD).

Matters at hand during the meeting were the R&D initiatives and the team’s present interventions for Laguna de Cagayan Handicrafts Association (LCHA). They are also eyeing collaborations on how to possibly find ways towards sustaining and developing the ‘bakong’ industry in the province.

Moreover, DCP and DTI R2-Cagayan represented by STIDS Marivic Calvo (Trade Promotions Officer) also met with Provincial Administrator Atty. Ma. Rosario Mamba- Villaflor on 19 January, 2023 to discuss the above-mentioned initiatives to help in the realization of one of the visions of the Provincial Government of Cagayan, that is, to make local products be known in the global market. On the same day, the team also had a meeting with CEO Froilan Pacris of Cagayan State University (CSU)- Gonzaga Campus including the faculty staff, and finalized engagement for the ‘bakong’ biodiversity assessment.

On their last day of the visit, 20 January, 2023, DCP and Ms. Calvo paid a courtesy call with Sta. Teresita’s Municipal Mayor Hon. Atty. Rodrigo de Gracia who assured his support for the ‘bakong industry by way of extending their full cooperation in future projects and activities in making ‘bakong’ as the municipality’s brand. After which, they visited LCHA and showed them the proper way to monitor and document the growth of the ‘bakong’ plant.  From LCHA, the team proceeded to DENR- CENRO Aparri for the joint collaboration of the biodiversity assessment with CSU. *

Date of release: 24 January 2023