TACLOBAN CITY – The construction of a banig (woven mat) showroom and processing center in Basey, Samar is a step closer to making the town as banig capital of the Philippines, a lawmaker said on Monday.
In a statement, Samar 2nd District Rep. Sharee Ann Tan said House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco has allocated PHP10 million for the showroom and processing center in Basey town.
Officials held the groundbreaking on June 26. The project will be completed within the year.
“The building will be used to showcase our world-class banig products, house tikog research and development, as well as banig production for the benefit of all banig weavers and tikog-related associations in Basey and all over Samar,” Tan said.
To recall, Tan announced in September last year that the House Committee on Agriculture has already approved House Bill 6566 at the committee level.
The legislative measure titled “An Act Developing the Tikog Industry, Creating for the Purpose the Banig Subsidy Fund and the Tikog Research and Development Center, and Declaring the Municipality of Basey in the Province of Samar as the Banig Capital of the Philippines.”
The bill aims to protect, develop, and support the “tikog” industry through the creation of a banig subsidy fund and Tikog Research and Development Center.
“Tikog” is a special reed grass that grows in swampy areas along rice fields and has solid, jointless, and usually triangular stems.
Before Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck in 2013, the grass had grown naturally in the wild, but rising demand for woven mats depleted its supply. Banig or woven mat is the main by-product of “tikog”.
The bill also seeks to recognize the town of Basey as the “banig” capital of the country.
The town is well-known for its colorful and woven tikog-based products and handicrafts most especially the multi-purpose mats, which may, in turn, be used as a material for the production and creation of other products.
Banig weaving is a century-old practice in Basey town which has been passed down from generation to generation and has a great significance to the history and culture of Samar and its people. (PNA)