by Secretary Emmanuel Piñol
Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

A P200,000 financial assistance was allocated last night by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) from its meager funds to support a group of Cotabato farmers who produce the Bamboo Face Shields, as a deluge of orders came in following a social media post.

During a Management Committee meeting of the MinDA, my proposal to provide the farmers the financial assistance to be taken from the savings of the different offices to buy tools and work tables was supported by all the members of the ManCom.

In a dramatic show of admiration at the resilience of the farmers in times of crisis, netizens lapped up the social media post on the unique Bamboo Face Shield with readership reaching 7-million in a little over 24 hours.

The Bamboo Face Shield was designed by a young agricultural engineer who patterned it after an FRDI-DOST model he saw online.

Engr. Junroe Barrios of Mlang town in Cotabato then sought the help of a former Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officer Manuel "Nonoy" Jayme who linked up the farmers' group with DTI for an initial assistance.

The farmers, who belong to the Central Mindanao Green Workers Association and who all work at home, sought MinDA's support last week.

As of yesterday, the farmers were swamped with orders from all over the country, including resellers who jacked up the price by almost 150%.

Jayme said they have decided to cut off marketing and distributorship arrangements with interested groups to keep the price at P80.

Delivered in places outside of Mindanao, the price could be at P95 per piece to include delivery.

MinDA through its MinDATienda Program will link up the farmers with big companies and corporations for huge orders to facilitate the delivery of the Bamboo Face Shields.

The program is expected to provide jobs for people in Mindanao where Bamboo is widely grown and income for the farmers.

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