DAVAO CITY – The Bagobo Tagabawa Pangulabe Association’s productivity is seen to improve as it is the latest recipient of the Department of Trade Industry’s (DTI) Shared Service Facilities (SSF) program in Davao City. 

DTI-Davao City, through the SSF program, conducted a techno-transfer and test run for the project on garments and tribal wear production with Bagobo Tagabawa Pangulabe group of Barangay Lubogan in Toril.
The equipment includes one unit of high-speed edging machine, one unit of heavy duty high-speed industrial sewing machine, two units of the manual sewing machine, three portable sewing machines, with a total project cost of P128,785.

The agency launched the SSF program nationwide in 2013 with the aim of improving the productivity and efficiency of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). This is done by giving them better access to technology, machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills, and knowledge under a shared system.
DTI-Davao City Director Rachel S. Remitio said that it is DTI’s commitment to continuously provide the MSMEs with opportunities to improve their business.

Based on the SSF program guidelines, the beneficiaries, who are also referred to as cooperators, manage the facilities. However, it must be noted that these are for the common use of MSME beneficiaries, which include the cooperatives, associations, or groups of MSMEs.

“The facilities should help the target beneficiaries increase their production capacities and improve product quality, resulting in widened market reach, increased sales, and jobs generation,” said the local trade official. The newest group of beneficiaries, the Bagobo Tagabawa Pangulabe Association, is into the production of tribal wear, such as beaded dresses and jackets, shoes, tangkulo, tribal scarf, and traditional beadworks. Most of its members are women, who are glad to have found a regular source of income for their families.

Remitio recognized the strong leadership of the traditional Bagobo Tagabawa artisan Bae Arlyne Salazar. Along with their close ties with the government and collaboration with the Davao Fashion and Design Council Foundation (DFDCF) and Manila-based entrepreneurs, the association was able to market their product locally and internationally. One of their regular clients is the renowned national figure in fashion and design, Zara Juan.

Amid their success and the unending orders, the group admitted that they had difficulty in meeting their clients’ requirements. They could not mass produce due to the low capacity of their existing facility. To address the processing and manufacturing gaps, Salazar sought the assistance of DTI-Davao City.

Through DTI’s SSF program, they were granted seven sewing machines, ranging from portable to high-speed industrial units. The local government unit of Barangay Lubogan in Toril was identified as the cooperator and the Bagobo Tagabawa group as the main beneficiary.

“The provision of the equipment under the SSF program is covered by a usufruct agreement. It means DTI still owns the equipment for two years. But, if we observe during our audit and project evaluation that local government unit (LGU) of Lubogan and the Bagobo Tagabawa Pangulabe Association are maximizing the equipment and operating them according to the existing SSF guidelines in a span of two years, then the equipment will be awarded already to the cooperator,” Remitio explained, while emphasizing that it will then become the ownership of the cooperator.

“We are glad that DTI provided us this equipment, rest assured that it will be taken care of by the association,” Barangay Captain Levi Fortuna said.

Prior to accessing the SSF program, some members of the association underwent a skills training on sewing in 2017, which was conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in coordination with the Philippine Women’s College (PWC) of Davao and National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA). It is also expected that they will have more training activities in the coming weeks to fully capacitate them, among these are sewing skills upgrading, product development, and pricing and costing.

With the sophisticated equipment provided to the association, Remitio is optimistic that they can already advance to the next level, where they can tap a better and wider market for their products. In the meantime, the IP women will become more self-reliant and financially independent, especially during the challenging time of the pandemic.

Since 2013, DTI-Davao City has already provided 70 SSF projects, with a total value of P35,703,452.10. As of July 2021, the office has launched seven SSF projects to seven co-operators. ♦

Date of Release: 26 August 2021