Press Release
November 8, 2016

Villar calls on ASEAN master craftsmen to join efforts to capture the international market

Senator Cynthia A. Villar exhorted ASEAN master craftsmen and the entire delegation to the ASEAN Masters Craft Designers Festival to join their efforts and collaboration to further boost the great potential of their crafts in capturing a bigger chunk of the world market.

"As I said earlier, we have excellent craftsmanship and creativity going for us, that's our biggest strength and competitive advantage," said Villar, in her speech during the recent opening of the said event at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

"But as we all know, it is a very competitive world out there, we have to enhance our strategies to improve our products' marketability. And I am confident that after the meeting here in the Philippines, the industry players including the craftsmen will be in a better position to compete in the market and create their own niche markets as well," she added.

Villar emphasized that the 'beautiful thing' about them in the ASEAN is that they have such diversity in their similarities. She cited the unique culture of each ASEAN member amid a shared identity or regional commonality.

"If we play that card properly, our crafts and designs will sell by their own merits, with our regional brand stamped on it," said Villar.

She said it is also the goal of this festival to raise the level of awareness within ASEAN about the importance of culture and art as a tool in strengthening cultural identity, enhancing cultural pride and improving the quality of life through improved designs and modern lifestyle applications.

She noted that ASEAN beautiful countries, rich culture and history provide endless inspiration for their artisans.

Due to this, the senator believes there is no reason for them not be excellent in their crafts. Between and among the ASEAN member-nations, Villar said they have thousands of islands.

"Here in the Philippines alone, we have over 7,000. So people in other countries can only imagine in their wildest imaginations how rich our natural resources, diverse our people are, how colourful our traditions among others. All of which play a huge factor in our craftsmen's artistry and creativity," she further stated.

Villar, a known advocate of livelihood projects made from recyclable materials, also underscored the availability of a wide array of materials, most of which are indigenous in the ASEAN region. Under the creative hands of the craftsmen of their respective countries, Villar said, those are transformed into masterpieces of arts, decor, furniture among others.

She said even trash can be turned into work of arts and assured that's very possible based from her own experience in her home city of Las Pinas.

In her city, Villar extolled they turn the water lilies or water hyacinths that they collect from our river to de-clog them, into Christmas lanterns, mats, small furniture, home decors and even gowns for their beauty pageant contestants.

Villar said they have not only created things of beauty, they have also helped the people by providing a source of livelihood for them, most of all we also helped the environment by saving our river from aquatic pests.

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