MARIKINA City’s shoe industry said two of the city’s educational institutions may start offering degree programs in footwear development next year.
“We hope that next year, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina and Marikina Polytechnic College will launch their four year-course on footwear,” Clarissa M. Badong, Consultant and Footwear Technical Designer for the Marikina Shoe Industry Development Office (MaSIDO), told BusinessWorld.
“Footwear is very technical. The design part is just the first step. It’s actually a bachelor course in other countries,” Ms. Badong added.
The government first provided industry training via a footwear technology program incorporated at K-to-12 level, pilot-tested at Marikina High School and San Roque National High School.
She said one of the factors hindering the industry is the overseas sourcing of 80% of raw materials, exposing the industry to currency risk and shipping delays. On the domestic side, the supply of leather is also tight.
Ms. Badong said a pair of shoes can require between 20 to 50 components to produce.
“In Bulacan nearly all the tanneries have closed. We have to import leather now, and fewer young people want to enter the industry because shoemaking is viewed as low-status. Parents are also discouraging them,” Ms. Badong added.
However, the affordability of Marikina shoes could be an opportunity.
“Three to four years ago there was greater interest in locally-made shoes, due to the higher cost of imported goods. So we are seeing potential particularly in artisanal products,” Ms. Badong said, adding that entrepreneurs sourcing from Marikina are also growing in number.
To help the industry recover, the city government of Marikina is also looking at reviving the Metro Manila-wide shoe caravan,a promotional activity for the industry.
“We collaborate with various municipalities to host bazaars to bring the Marikina shoe industry to them,” Ms. Badong added, noting that the caravan is a big revenue generator for shoemakers.
MaSIDO currently stages bazaars in Marikina City. — Janina C. Lim