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To Resuscitate Meycauayan Jewelry Industry, STAKEHOLDERS VOW TO SUPPORT
Thursday, 12 May 2011
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“Once a lucrative business back in late 70’s to early 90’s, the fine jewelry industry in Meycauayan, Bulacan is now needing a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or perhaps an oxygen apparatus in order to somehow restore its energy”, quoted Antonio Atienza Jr. of Goldenas Jewelry during the Strategic Planning held on May 9, 2011 at Meycauayan City Hall.

According to him, while Meycauayan still the jewelry hub in the Philippines, our country ranked second lowest among Asian countries in terms of jewelry production and export sales.

The participants all agreed with Atienza that our country is ten years behind China in jewelry-making technology. Chinese jewelers are using computer aided design (CAD) that rapidly prototyping several thousands of design a month.

With the application of modern equipment, the Chinese could assemble and reproduce even a very tiny and intricate type of jewelry ensuring all the required international standards.

Due to slowdown of the local jewelry industry, goldsmiths belong to micro and cottage category had given up, looked for new job or tried other business.

The latest record of Business Permit and Licensing Office shows that there are only 76 registered jewelers now in Meycauayan City – a very upsetting number compared to the records two decades ago.

Zorina Aldana, DTI-Bulacan Provincial Director, who spearheaded the strategic planning shared the same views that Meycauayan jewelry has stagnated and no longer competitive with China and Thailand, the number one and two top producers of quality jewelry in Asia region.

Director Aldana encouraged the players and stakeholders to formulate a three year doable action plan to address the problems and hopefully cope up with other top producing countries.

“Avail of the tax incentives offered by the government”, urged James Santiago of DTI to micro, small and medium-sized firm after he explained various entitlements and privileges stated in Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Law and R.A. 8502 otherwise known as Jewelry Development Act of 1998.

During workshop, industry players and stakeholders had identified four major issues and problems besetting the jewelry sector such as old-fashioned production technology, bureaucratic red tape in dealing with government regulatory agencies, smuggling of cheaper jewelry products and financial incapability.

Swindling, sub-standard jewelry products from some dishonest manufacturers, lack of unity among players, dwindling numbers of skilled jewelry workers, misconstrued belief over the industry association and presence of underground jewelers were also identified but the group will concentrate on the four major issues while also addressing the latter problems accordingly.

Cecille Ramos, Peter Zuñiga Engr. Danny Napalinga, Meycauayan City Councilor Elmer, Antonio Atienza, Jr., all officers of the MJIAI and the rest of the jewelers present in the planning are not losing hope.

“Though it may seems too tough battling the issues concerning the local jewelry industry, there are still chances to step up” said Ramos.

According to her, Philippines posted 12.37% growth sales last year which is a good indication that Meycauayan jewelry could penetrate a bigger slice of 54 million dollar US market.

“We could be like Thailand who started only as jewelry show”. We simply need to believe that Meycauayan jewelry is globally competitive, pool our resources together and work collectively with the support of government regulatory agencies, partner institutions and local government units”, said Ramos.

Even before the strategic planning started, all stakeholders from the government present in the planning session assured the jewelers of their assistance in reviving the industry.

Vowed to support were DTI-Bulacan Provincial Director Zorina Aldana, Erlinda Sagum of TESDA, Elmer Musni of DOST, Jovito Saguinsin of PCEDO - Provincial Government of Bulacan, Manny Alarilla of City Mayor Office, City Councilor Elmer Paguio, City Planning & Development Officer Evelyn Priolo and City Cooperative Officer Romulo Santos.

Industry players and stakeholders came up with the vision for the next three years, “The center of fine jewelry in the Philippines and number 3 producer in Asia”.

The strategic planning was made possible thru the efforts of City Planning and Development Office of Meycauayan in partnership with the DTI.###

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