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By Gesyl S. Dacanay
 
Lots of wood wastage and expertise in wood crafting and cottage industry are the main elements to create useful and functional artwork. This inspired the rural workers of Palayan City to organize an association, focusing on woodcrafts and cottage industry. They were called The Highlander Cottage Industries and Woodcraft Rural Worker’s Association (THCIWRWA). The group was registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on December 13, 2013. With the availability of resources and skills, the association started to make household furnishings like chopping boards, palo-palo, figurines, novelty and gift items, stools of various designs and shapes. They were able to sell it within the barangay and later, to the entire City of Palayan. This initial positive response encouraged the association to continue searching for improvement of the quality of their products.  Thus, they realized the need to acquire modern and sophisticated equipment.
 
In 2015, THCIWRWA qualified as one of the beneficiaries under the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) Project of the Department of Trade and Industry. They were granted different machines and equipment such as Wood Lathe Machine, Bench Drill, Band Saw, Sliding Compound Miter Saw, and Combination Woodworking Machine worth P 467,040.00. Eventually, they started making good quality home and office furniture and fixtures.
 
They received numerous kinds of assistance and support from DTI. They were invited to participate in various trainings and seminars conducted through the SME Roving Academy (SMERA) program. These trainings and seminars include costing and pricing seminar, basic accounting seminar, and the likes. They were also able to join different trade fairs in Nueva Ecija organized by DTI, which helped them in the promotion of their products.
 
The launching of the Negosyo Center in Palayan City made it more convenient for THCIWRWA to access the business assistance they need. Their products were being displayed in the Negosyo Center  (NC) in Palayan and were promoted by the center to prospective clients. They supplied the office cabinets and tables of some of the NCs established in Nueva Ecija in 2017. As of now, they continue to supply office cabinets and tables in every NC to be launched in the province. They also sold to different professionals around Nueva Ecija who ordered household furnishings from them.
 
They are very grateful that DTI granted them the SSF equipments, which they considered a big help in the production of quality home furnitures and woodcrafts.♦
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