Oliver Bugarin 9 0 0 5 min to read

Bulacan’s dying tannery industry’s quest for revitalization.

Measures for reviving the ailing tannery industry in Meycauayan City have been laid out by the Bulacan Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Council, which is run by the DTI provincial office.

In a meeting on Wednesday at Meycauayan City Hall, DTI Provincial Director Edna Dizon stated that one of the priority industries in Bulacan province that their agency is aiming to stimulate to provide residents with a good source of livelihood is the tanning industry, which Meycauayan has been known for over the last 100 years.

However, she pointed out that the industry has drastically decreased since the early part of the twenty-first century.

Meycauayan City today only has less than 10 tanneries, far less than the 200 tanneries that it formerly had, according to Mary Lazaro, head of the Tanners Association of the Philippines (TAP).

The first stage, according to Dizon, is to identify the sources of the cow, buffalo, and goat skins that Meycauayan City tanneries can use as the basis for leather goods.

According to DTI study, the tanneries in Luzon receive virtually no leather because “chicharon” or hog skin crackling producers are given preference.

As a result, Dizon stated in an interview, “they are compelled to acquire skin from the Visayas, Mindanao, and even other nations, which results to exorbitant prices because to the restricted supply.”

With this, she stated that the DTI’s goal is to get in touch with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and its affiliated organization, the Philippine Carabao Center, to make sure there is a supply of skin to be included in the development of the nation’s livestock.

Dizon added that they are looking for the Department of Science and Technology’s assistance in allocating new and appropriate equipment to update the tanneries (DOST).

She claimed that DOST Provincial Director Angelita Parungao gave them the assurance that the organization is prepared to provide the necessary equipment.

According to Dizon, “the agency is giving priority to machinery that would collect trash from the tanneries so that it may be repurposed and not pollute the waterways.”

The Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System was reportedly one of the 30 most polluted rivers in the world in 2008 due in part to the tannery industry.

Similarly, Dizon stated that the DOST is looking into ways to improve Bulacan’s salt supply, which is one of the ingredients required in the creation of leather goods.

She pointed out that the salt used in tanneries is not the same quality as that used in food.

She added the DOST is seeking a beach that is closer to extraction and processing, like Pamarawan island in Malolos City, to improve salt production.

The DTI has scheduled a fashion week event for before the end of 2022 as big and long-term steps to revive the tannery industry in Meycauayan are put into place.

According to Dizon, the fashion show will highlight locally manufactured jewelry and leather goods.

She said that in accordance with Republic Act 9501, commonly known as the Magna Carta for MSMEs Act of 2008, they are also examining ways to borrow money from the Small Business Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines, and Development Bank of the Philippines.

A technical working group will be established to develop a master plan on how to build an integrated water waste treatment facility for all tanneries in the city, among other steps. These measures also include the resurrection of a cooperative with aid from the Cooperative Development Authority.

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