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Marawi weavers need more help to sustain livelihood

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FIVE GROUPS of Marawi weavers were among those who joined a business forum last week organized by the Bangon Marawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. — BW/CQFRANCISCO

WEAVERS FROM Marawi City, which suffered devastation from the five-month armed clashes in 2017 arising from a siege by Islamic State-inspired local extremist groups, were among those who joined a forum in Iligan City last week intended to discuss the revival and sustaining affected businesses in the war-torn city. Five groups of weavers received swatchbooks as livelihood assistance. “The swatchbook contains relevant information such as design name, production capacity, standard width, and material mix,” according to a statement from the Strengthening Urban Resilience for growth with Equity (Surge), a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Rolando A. Torres, executive director of the Mindanao Business Council, which is also assisting the weavers, said the sector needs more interventions like capital funding. “We are looking at providing them more capability-building activities and some resources so that they can not only start but sustain their livelihood activities,” said Mr. Torres. In coordination with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Echosi Foundation and Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, Surge has been providing them trainings on productivity development, financial management, marketing, and distributing start-up materials like looms and threads. They are also getting marketing assistance through the inclusion of their products in fashion shows and selected Echostore shops in the country. The forum, organized by the Bangon Marawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry with support from USAID, was attended by about 500 displaced entrepreneurs and other representatives of key business organizations and government agencies. Discussions on new business opportunities were also held. — Carmelito Q. Francisco

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