JCI Puerto Princesa Oil, BFAR, GAD, and LGU, strengthened pro-women feat in the grassroots community

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JCI Puerto Princesa Oil spearheaded the two-day livelihood skills training and workshop dubbed as LEGACY (Livelihood Empowering seaweed Growers Along Coastal-communitY) held at Diwata Hall, Poblacion, Quezon Palawan last March 14 to 15, 2019. The event is in partnership and collaboration with various agencies and stakeholders that promotes and supports women empowerment projects such as Gender and Development of Quezon Palawan, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, BFAR MIMAROPA Region and local government unit of Quezon, Palawan, and supported by Palawan Daily News, EGOV Program of Palawan Governor’s Office, and generous sponsors. The two-day activity is in line with the celebration of women’s month.

Indigenous seaweed growers along coastal community and women from barangay Isugod, Aramaywan and Sitio Sidanao Island of Panitian, and 4P’s members of Quezon Palawan were participants of two-day seminar and training. Attendees from Sidanao Island spent two days at Barangay Poblacion, Quezon Palawan to ensure that they can complete the skills training facilitated by Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Organizers and proponents of LEGACY project aims to provide skills and training for home-based and long term livelihood as other source of decent and continuous income for the family, to utilize raw material that is abundant and presently thrive in the community for a livelihood program that can provide and create to a value-added products, develop a product that can meet, compete and offer above standard quality in the market, to raise awareness and seek supports from local government unit and women advocates, and to promote and addresses pressing issues on empowerment and growth for women on all socio-economic status.

Quezon, Palawan happened to be blessed and abundant with Euecheuma Cottonii, a variety of seaweed that would be used as main raw material for a two-day activity. Mrs. Elena Basaya of Palawan Provincial Fishery Office opened the training and workshop on March 14, 2019, with Seaweed Growers Forum: Update and Sustenance. She pinpointed the use of urea as fertilizer for seaweed as the primary reason for carrageenan and gel strength quality failure in the province of Palawan. As aquaculturist of BFAR, she presented the Provincial Ordinance No. 1997 series of 2018 ” Prohibiting the use of any type of fertilizer in seaweed farming activities in the province of Palawan”. Thirty-minute discussion allowed the participants to ask questions and clear up the issues of using fertilizer as a not recommended practice in seaweed farming.

The two-day workshop full packed with activities of hands-on seaweed training for value-added products facilitated by a trainer from Post Harvest and Marketing Division of BFAR MIMAROPA Region, Ms. Lea A. Dagot. Attendees enthusiastically and eagerly wanted to learn this new livelihood skills using their seaweed as the main ingredient and potentially their new source of additional income for the family. They were taught how to prepare and mixed seaweed puree and gel as food ingredients for cookies, crackers, noodles, seaweed sisig, and for all time “pinoy” kids merienda “champorado”.

BFAR creating awareness thru training and workshop about seaweed health benefits. “Seaweed is rich in Iodine and Iron. Some species are also rich in Protein. A good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Calcium, Folic Acid, Niacin, Potassium, and Zinc.

Incredible seaweed benefits.

1. Promote weight loss, cellulite control and detoxification.
2. Strengthens your immune system.
3. Disperses phlegm accumulation and promote dieresis.
4. Decrease your risk of heart attack.
5. Lower cholesterol level.
6. It keeps bone and teeth healthy and strong.
7. It helps you to sleep better.
8. Give us glossier hair and luminous skin.
9. Cleanses the body of toxic pollutants.”

Eat seaweeds, stay healthy!

– BFAR Fisheries Post Harvest & Marketing Division

Ms. Lea A. Dagot, stressed the importance of proper food handling and preparation during her discussion of GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) before she proceeds to food preparation and actual demonstration and to cooking. Participants were asked and required to wore hand gloves, face mask, hair net, and washed hands with a clean set of nails. They were divided into four groups. Around 40 women were the beneficiaries of the LEGACY program invited by Ms. Pacita Bravo of Provincial Department of Agriculture at Quezon, Palawan in cooperation with Gender and Development and LGU of Quezon Palawan. Mayor Joselito Ayala of Quezon attended, endorsed and supported the two-day activity at his town of indigenous seaweed farmers. He told his fellow Quezonians that his office would be willing to provide assistance for the continuity of livelihood program.

Hands-on training for seaweed based soap making conducted on the last day of workshop. Ms Lea Dagot, demonstrated cautiously and diligently the procedure of cold process hand made bath soap, from preparation of ingredients, mixing of lye solution, seaweed gel extraction and mixing of all ingredients and essence additives such as citronella and herb in a bowl to achieve viscous texture then poured it to soap holder and wait for 15 days curing period. Citronella selected as essence for seaweed bath soap to address current health related issues of Palawan of increasingly high rate malaria and dengue cases. Citronella is known for its essence of protection and prevention from insect bites such as mosquito and perfect to be used as a repellent. After 15 days curing period, bath soap will be available for testing.

To motivate the participants to engage in livelihood program, Marketing Strategies and New Trend for Seaweed Based Products was presented by LEGACY project chair Gilbert Ramoya of JCI Puerto Princesa Oil. Marketing aspect discussed the demand for seaweed products from food to none food applications. Continuously increasing demand for daily use of food and none food products, project chair asked the help of grassroots community to engaged diligently in seaweed farming at coastal areas in Quezon, Palawan. A short video and marketing presentation was shown to the audience to raise awareness about the important role of seaweed in the food and none food industry. One of which is the use of packaging made of seaweed as an alternative solution for zero waste and it also offers many health benefits. Marketing tools such as public relations to community, using social media, radio, television and print will be used as part of the strategies. Push selling to exhibits and trade fair were also presented to participants to boosts the marketing campaign.

The two-day workshop ends thru a closing program. Leaders of each groups presented their finished products and shared their impressions and commitment to nourish and flourish of their new skilled acquired. Gender and Development of Quezon, Palawan represented by Lilibeth Balisco assures the beneficiaries that her office is willing to provide micro financing and financial assistance for start up business. GAD is welling to allot budget for trade fair and follow up activities thru LEGACY program. Municipal Agriculturist Office represented by Mr. Romeo P. Segay, ensured to the participants that his office will provide full support to the development of the livelihood program.

JCI Puerto Princesa Oil 2019 President Rexlin D. Azarcon delivered the closing remarks and ends the activity of giving encouragement to the participants and beneficiaries. Mr. Azarcon ensured to the participants that his local organization will support the indigenous seaweed farmers and women of Quezon for the continuity and forthcoming success of LEGACY project. His local organization will work side by side with various agencies that promotes and assists pro-women activity, for increasing awareness, involvement and promotion of ” Pinay Power” a national project of JCI Philippines on women’s month.

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