OISCA Negros Silk Products Featured at APEC Manila Summit Meeting
Silk produced through the OISCA project in Negros Occidental, Philippines played an important role at the Summit Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) which took place in Manila on November 18-19. The silk was added to the fibers used in weaving the Barong Tagalogs, Philippine formal attires, worn by the national leaders and their spouses including Japan’s Prime Minister and Mrs. Shinzo Abe, President Barack Obama of the United States and President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea during the meeting.
The OISCA Sericulture Project in Negros started in 1999 with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the purpose of alleviating the plight of the local small farmers who were dependent on the sugar monoculture. OISCA Negros produces 1.5 tons of silk yarn annually which accounts for 90% of the country’s total production. The project, spearheaded by the OISCA Bago Training Center under Director Shigemi Watanabe, provides income for about 195 local farmers engaged in sericulture and related activities such as taking care of mulberry fields and weaving. The income derived from the industry significantly helps improve their livelihood.
The Negros silk now in the national and international spotlight, is expected to further expand its markets at home and abroad.