Bukidnon urged to venture into manufacturing, processing

MALAYBALAY CITY – Can rice-rich Bukidnon at least manufacture goods from its produce such as rice noodles?

Dr. Carmen Unabia, a researcher on Bukidnon history and literature told hundreds of employees of the Malaybalay City Government and its barangays in the occasion of the 134th foundation anniversary of Malaybalay on July 15.

Unabia cited that local palay producers have been selling their products to traders but it’s about time to reclaim the people’s enterprising way of life by putting up manufacturing or processing industries.

Unabia was the guest speaker of the anniversary program held at the Freedom Park, Baragay 4 Covered Court, Malaybalay City.

She said every day; people see big trucks hauling Bukidnons produce, including raw materials, to be used in the manufacturing sector in other places.

Before, she added, Bukidnon was also a good source of products in the barter trade.

Unabia underscored the importance of knowledge on history. She said the wisdom of the people are engendered into their literature, a way of know Bukidnon history.

“What can the past teach us?” she added.

Unabia challenged barangay captains and city officials to support micro-enterprises such as bihon production to add value to the farmers’ production. She also cited the potential of producing packed corn snacks.

She said they can facilitate the lending of capital for these micro-enterprises.

“Our ancestors were traders and entrepreneurs, a value, which they learned with long history of trading with the Chinese,” she said.

She added that the Lumads of Bukidnon traded with the Chinese through the Tagoloan River.

Unabia said in the pre-Hispanic time, Chinese traders saw a Malaybalay where there was emphasis in trading.

She cited the strong trading relations between the Lumads and the Chinese in the latter’s influence in local culture like in the designs of native clothing, food, and music.

During the Spanish era, she added, the focus shifted from economic to political.

She traced the trading route from the mouth of the Tagoloan River in the present day Misamis Oriental to the plains and hinterlands of Bukidnon.

Among the significant goods traded in the route, she added, were abaca hemp, honey and other agricultural products, which locals bartered with the Chinese wares such as jars used in rituals.

Unabia said local producers should not stop at selling raw produce but also manufacture products from these raw materials.

“Isn’t this an insult to us when we have to buy from other places the products which we could produce from here using our own resources?” she said.

Unabia urged government and community officials to nurture the enterprising spirit by tapping the services of the Technical Education and Skills Training Development Authority (TESDA) for training based on the micro-enterprise set up.

Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri and other city officials exhorted the role of history to present administration and that the progress of the city at present is a result of what former leaders did in the past.

“Our economic growth is a sign that we earned the trust of the investors,” he added.

The city government carried the theme of this year’s commemoration of the founding of Malaybalay as a Spanish “pueblo” as “Ang Hiyas ug mithi sa kagahapon, mao’y sumbanan sa atong kalamabuan karon.”

Of the at least 20 activities slated in the celebration from June 3 to 26, only the anniversary program provided avenue for locals to learn from its past. Most of the activities were either entertainment or sports extravaganza to lure public attention. (Walter I. Balane)

This story also appears in: www.mindanews.com

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