Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte and three other lawmakers from the province has asked Congress to institutionalize the Philippine Abaca Industry Development Program as a companion measure to the recently enacted law declaring Catanduanes as the country’s abaca capital with a P500-million annual fund allocation.
Through House Bill No. 1804, Villafuerte and Representatives Miguel Luis Villafuerte, Tsuyoshi Anthony Horibata and Nicolas Enciso VIII have proposed a development program for the abaca industry and the creation of a P500-million fund to bankroll a massive program on the propagation, production, processing, marketing, promotion and distribution of this product, internationally known as “Manila hemp.”
They said that while they recognize the potential of the abaca industry and the government’s declaration of Catanduanes as the country’s abaca capital, more needs to be done to upskill the abaca sector and boost its production, especially now amid reports of declining output.
“Reportedly, demand for the commodity is increasing while production has slowed. In addressing this, the bill proposes for the production extension and infrastructure development for the industry to provide adequate technologies and facilities for production and strengthen the sectors involved in the Abaca has evolved into a number of uses, such as a substitute for synthetic materials like plastic.
Its high tensile strength and versatility for manufacture into a wide-range of products has propelled the Philippines to being the largest producer of abaca fibers, supplying about 87 percent of the world’s requirement for the produce.