09 February 2009

Groups Back Bayong Making as Green Job Solution

Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition and the Miss Earth Foundation have thrown their support behind the plan of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to invest in community-based bayong enterprises.

The green groups expressed confidence that the bayong project under the government’s Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP), if properly implemented, will help in generating sustainable jobs, particularly in the countryside.

The groups made this observation as various stakeholders meet today at a summit convened by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to strategize on how to preserve and create jobs in the middle of a global economic slowdown.

“Investments in the production of bayong using indigenous and renewable materials could spur local self-reliance with the creation of much-needed jobs amid the increasing unemployment,” Ofelia Panganiban of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Task Force on Eco-Livelihood said.

Based on DTI calculations, the domestic demand for bayong can reach as much as P1.3 billion yearly if every Filipino family above the poverty threshold buys a bayong at P100 per year.

“The fact that many consumers are beginning to realize the environmental and climate effects of plastic bags and are slowly switching back to bayong and other reusable carry bags as eco-friendly shopping companions will surely guarantee market demand for the timeless bayong,” Cathy Untalan, Executive Director of the Miss Earth Foundation, added.

“To complement the bayong livelihood project, we urge the DTI as well as the local government units (LGUs) to take bold steps to regulate and restrict the use of plastic bags and proactively promote the use of bayong and other eco-friendly alternatives,” the EcoWaste Coalition and the Miss Earth Foundation stated.

Imposing environmental levy on plastic bags and banning their use for non-essential purposes (for example, as buntings for community fiestas and other festive occasions) are some of the concrete steps that LGUs can take to curb plastic pollution, the groups said.

The EcoWaste Coalition and the Miss Earth Foundation, which have been holding “Balik-Bayong” direct communication activities since 2006, listed several ways to boost consumer support for the handy bayong.

a. For groceries, supermarkets and department stores to offer their customers options before routinely putting goods in plastic bags, and to provide financial incentives (i.e., discount or rebate) for those who bring their own bayong or other eco-substitutes such as reusable bags and
used boxes.

b. For the DTI to sponsor a creative design contest in bayong-making to upgrade the style and durability of the bayong.

c. For the DTI to carry out a year-round “Balik-Bayong” drive with the help of publicly recognized business, political, religious, sports, showbiz and beauty personalities.

d. For the Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government units, and secular, religious and corporate charities to use bayong for all disaster relief operations and for the traditional gift-giving during Christmas.

e. For Congress to enact a comprehensive “Bayong Sustainability Act” to ensure continued support, promotion and development for the bayong, locally and globally.

“Balik-Bayong, we believe, is truly a sustainable solution that we should embrace as our country deal with swelling unemployment and the adverse impacts of wasteful consumption, climate change and chemical pollution,” the EcoWaste Coalition and the Miss Earth Foundation said.

EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 320, Eagle Court Condominium, Matalino St.
Quezon City, Philippines
+63 2 9290376
ecowastecoalition@yahoo.com

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