Robredo eyes weaving center, cooperative for Yakan tribe in Basilan

Mara Cepeda
Vice President Leni Robredo says she also plans to link the Yakan weavers with entrepreneurs from Metro Manila who can help them have better access to the market to sell their products

VISITING THE WEAVERS. Vice President Leni Robredo poses for a photo with a young member of the Yakan tribe on June 29, 2018. Photos by Richard Falcatan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo is planning to help build a weaving center and a cooperative for the weavers of the Yakan tribe living in Lamitan City, Basilan.

Robredo visited the community on Friday, June 29 and observed how the Yakan tribe keeps the Tennun weaving tradition alive. (READ: Meeting the Yakan people in Zamboanga City)

The Vice President said she was eyeing to help build a weaving center in the area, so the tribe members would no longer be exposed to the elements when they worked.  

Wala silang facility. Sa labas lang sila gumagawa, exposed sa elements. Kapag mainit, titiisin nila; kapag maulan, hihinto sila magtrabaho. So hinahanapan natin ng paraan kung paano tayo makakapagawa ng facility dito para sa kanila,” said Robredo. 

(They don’t have a facility. They are exposed to the elements when they work. When it’s hot outside, they have to endure it; if it’s raining, they have to stop working. So we’re looking for ways how to build a facility for them.) 

Her flagship anti-poverty program Angat Buhay links private companies and organizations with local government units and communities like the Yakan tribe to give the latter various types of assistance they need.

Apart from the weaving center, Robredo said the Office of the Vice President (OVP) will help the Yakan tribe organize their own cooperative. 

Once the weavers undertake capacity-building workshops that would train them to earn more as entrepreneurs, the OVP is eyeing to bring businessmen from Metro Manila who can give the weavers better access to the market. 

Pero iyong pinakasadya lang talaga, mas magaanan iyong mga weavers natin sa kanilang pagtatrabaho (Our main goal is to alleviate the working environment of the weavers),” said Robredo. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.