MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/20 June) – Bukidnon should engage in the processing of its agricultural produce and not rely solely on selling these to traders, a speaker told city and barangay officials during the city’s 134th foundation day celebration on June 15.
Interestingly, the advice came not from a businessman or a farmer but from Dr. Carmen Unabia, a researcher on Bukidnon history and literature.
Unabia cited that local palay producers have been selling to traders but that it’s about time to reclaim the people’s enterprising way of life by putting up manufacturing or processing
“Our ancestors were traders and entrepreneurs, a value which they learned from a long history of trading with the Chinese,” Unabia, who was the guest speaker of the anniversary program, held at the Freedom Park, said.
She added that the Lumads traded with the Chinese during the pre-Hispanic era through the Tagoloan River which connects Bukidnon to the coastal province of Misamis Oriental.
Among the local goods traded were abaca hemp and honey which the Lumads bartered for wares such as jars used in rituals.
Unabia cited that aside from trading relations the Chinese left an influence in local culture as can be seen in the designs of native clothing, food, and music.
She underscored the importance of knowing history and literature as a repository of the wisdom of the people.
She noted that every day people would see big trucks hauling Bukidnon’s produce, mainly raw materials, to be used by the manufacturing sector in other places.
Unabia challenged barangay captains and city officials to support micro-enterprises such as bihon production and packed corn snacks to add value to the farmers’ produce.
She said they can facilitate the lending of capital for these micro-enterprises.
“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 asked.
She urged local officials to nurture the spirit of enterprise by tapping the services of the Technical Education and Skills Training Development Authority (TESDA) for training.
Mayor Ignacio W. Zubiri and other city officials cited the role of the former leaders in the progress the city had achieved.
“Our economic growth is a sign that we [have] earned the trust of the investors,” he added.
This year’s theme for the foundation day celebration is “Ang hiyas ug mithi sa kagahapon, mao’y sumbanan sa atong kalamabuan karon (The virtue and aspiration of the past is the basis of today’s progress).”
Of some 20 activities slated in the celebration from June 3 to 26, only the anniversary program provided a venue for locals to learn the past. Most of the activities were either entertainment or sports events. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)