PATAMABA - Rizal Products

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PATAMABA-OXFAM PROJECT:

Strengthening the Marketing Network of Women Workers in the Informal Economy
Towards Advancing Fair, Just and Sustainable Trade

GROUP ENTERPRISES IN ANGONO, RIZAL

Angono, the youngest municipality in the province of Rizal, is better known for its unique cultural life and history. It has achieved the reputation as an “artists’ paradise” for having sired many Filipino artists who are now popular in the field of painting, music, sculpture and native artistic traditions.

The municipality has 10 barangays which include San Vicente and Kalayaan, where PATAMABA members can be found. The primary sources of income are trading, manufacturing, fishing, employment in companies, livestock raising and subcontracting (smocking).

The smocking industry, introduced by US garments exporters in the 1930s, used to be a multi-level subcontracting in Angono, with local operators or operators supplying foreign principals with baby dresses and lingeries. At the bottom of the subcontracting ladder are the factory-based workers, and the homebased or domestic outworkers. With the severe decline of in the garments industry, many of them practically lost their main source of income. Embroiderers from San Vicente whose products were exclusively done by hand also suffered due to competition posed by cheaper exports from countries like India, Thailand, and China. As a result, women’s incomes, aside from being irregular, decreased as piece rates also went down.

Because hand embroidery was a shrinking source of income for homeworkers, PATAMABA initiated the development of alternative and sustainable livelihood through group enterprises as a long-term strategy for addressing the risk of ever smaller orders and piece rates.

The Product/s The PATAMABA San Vicente has acquired a Productivity Center, which is rented at P2,500 per month, exclusive of electricity, communications and maintenance costs. The building can accommodate many workers and still maintain good working condition.

The following economic activities are being undertaken at the Productivity Center: Bedroom Slipper Making; Candle Wax Making; Detergent Production and Pulvoron (Budbod Sustansya Vegetops). The raw materials needed for production are accessible and can easily be purchased in Marikina, Metro Manila.

Bedroom slippers production utilizes textile remnants of local and imported materials, sole, cardboard, foam and contact cement. The technology was transferred by a PATAMABA National Council member who herself is into footwear production. The basic equipment are: sewing machine, ordinary or high-speed, scissors and patterns

For candle wax making, the materials needed are polyethylene, crystal, paraffin and gel wax, cotton wick, scent, gas stove, and molder of different shapes and designs.

Detergent production requires the use of non-toxic raw materials with coco base, which can produce detergent in powder or liquid form. This raw material can produce herbal bath soap, dishwashing liquid, powder detergent soap and fabric softener. The basic tools are : plastic basin, container, gas stove, ladle, measuring cups and bottles.

Polvoron making involves the tedious process of transforming into powdered form a mixture of processed green vegetables (kangkong, camote tops, malunggay, alugbati and pechay), toasted sesame seeds, rice flour, butter, skimmed milk, sugar and iodized salt. The latter has captured a client that places orders regularly.

The Producers The PATAMABA San Vicente Chapter of Angono was organized in February 1996, with an initial membership of 38 women. Through networking with local business councils, TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment), the Informal Sector Project funded by USAID, the Rizal Informal Sector Coalition (RISC) and the municipal government (through the Workers’ Assistance Office), the women were trained in Christmas-ball production, doormat weaving, candle wax-making, and had access to scrap cloth and other waste materials for their livelihood projects. With some funding assistance, they were able to put up group enterprises whereby they bought raw materials in bulk and marketing was centralized.

The PATAMABA San Vicente ranks high in community recognition and participation. It has instituted capability-building programs which are carried out through education, seminar-workshops, skills cum production training, consultation meetings and awareness-raising. Complementing such programs are socio-economic assistance projects that facilitate access to additional capital in the form of loan with minimal interest to on-going livelihood projects, proposals, feasibility studies, business plans, acquisition of raw materials and market niching of products.

Some members who are into smocking still engage in this line of work but on irregular basis (one week for a month). In order to sustain family needs, some of them ventured in a variety of income generating activities such as sari-sari store, trading and vending activities, and self-employment through production of food items like Oraro, kakanin and chocolate and doormat-making. Others are also practicing reflexology, making use of skills learned from a TESDA training.

Product Development and Marketing PATAMABA products are sold locally while a member-in-charge has been assigned to merchandize the products.

Bedroom slippers are sold in bazaars, trade fairs, showrooms and to any individual or through an agent who is into trading. These products are also sold in local markets in Metro Manila and in municipalities of Rizal. Occasionally, institutions place their orders as company give-aways and promotion materials. Sale of candles reach its peak every month of November. The market for the detergent has a great potential in the local market, especially in the community, because the product addresses the basic need of every individual. PATAMABA has a ready market for Pulvoron, where every month, it delivers some 2,500 packs to a foundation for its feedings program; and also, to individual buyers who own food business (carinderia) and in schools.

Members involved in the group production are compensated in the following manner: In bedroom slipper-making, women receive P100.00 a day for finishing 50 pairs of slipper at P2.00 per pair, with free lunch. In comparison, the 4 PATAMABA members doing slipper production in their home are receiving P2.50 per pair. However, due to distractions and reproductive work, they can only produce 30 pairs of slippers daily. For candlewax production, members are paid P3.00 per piece. During peak months, (September, October, November) the team can produce 120 to 240 pieces of candles per day, for which it earns P360 to P720.00 per day. This income is then divided among members, based on the number of hours/day spent in the production. In detergent production, members get P5.00 for every kilo of powder produced (they can produce up to 100 kilos per day), while for liquid detergents (dishwashing and fabric softener), members get P3.00 per 330 ml and P5.00 per l.5 liter. For the Polvoron, payment is P100 for every kilo of finished product and the women can produce at least 10 kilos or more daily.

Products are priced as follows:

Product

Wholesale

Retail

Bedroom Slippers

17.00/pair

20.00 to 25.00/pair

Candle Wax

18.00/pc

3 for P100.00

Detergent Powder

40.00/kilo

50.00/kilo

Liquid Dishwashing

15.00/330 ml

20.00 to 25.00/330 ml

Fabric Softener

20.00/330 ml

30.00 to 35.00 /330 ml

Pulvoron

20.00/pack

30.00/pack

     

Some Progressive Steps: Improving the Group Enterprise in Angono

There are problems usually identified with production: capital, packaging, facilities and equipment. Addressing said constraints will prove to be more meaningful if done in a more comprehensive and systematic manner as the checklist below suggests:

  • To address the sustainability of the organization, and to assist in the marketing of local products, a project that is patterned after “Ithaca Hours” of New York will be launched. A coupon worth P100.00 each (which members can buy at P95.00), can be used to purchase goods from the PATAMABA San Vicente Center and also from members who are selling other products or services like manicure, shiatsu, reflexology, etc. Annual rebate of 2% will be granted to members. Proceeds of the project (from the P5.00 discount on coupons) will be deposited in a bank identified by the organization.
  • To equip the individual women worker members and their organization with basic business management capabilities that are appropriate to their operations and their potential as entrepreneurs and enhance the capabilities of the organization in assisting home based workers.
  • To provide business development assistance (through training and providing basic business management tools) that focuses on the abilities of the individual members and the business operations that the organization will undertake. These tools should regularly be examined to make sure that these are appropriate for the level of operations and potential capabilities of each member and that of the organization.
  • To provide technology development assistance in the design of appropriate equipment/tools or an improvised machine that will cater for mass production. There is need to tap a consultant for improved and better quality production. In addition members will also need training on new product designs, color combinations, packaging, promotions, product diversification and product shelf life..
  • There must be a provision for communications equipment which the group can use to reach out institutions, buyers and contacts. An internet subscription and a fax machine are some examples of equipment that can aid in marketing the group’s products.
  • Enhancement and improvement of the Productivity Center, which can also serve as a showroom, wholesale and retail outlet, and storage for inventories of PATAMABA products ( group enterprise and individual members). It must also serve as an office where members can hold meetings.