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How a cement firm created jobs for village women

As a leader in the building materials sector, sustainability is a key guiding principle of Republic Cement’s business strategy. By creating shared value with society through its corporate social responsibility initiatives, the company is able to meet the community’s challenges and contribute to nation-building. 

Over 10,000 people in Iligan have since benefited from Republic Cement’s CSR initiatives and the company is set to double this number this year.

“Sustainability is a fundamental prerequisite to future growth. Hence, as a responsible corporate citizen, we strive to meet the highest standards of environmental management, and to enhance quality of life for the community. We focus not only in our area of operations, but also reach out to the far-flung remote communities in Iligan,” Republic Cement Services Inc. president Nabil Francis said.

In 2009, the Bunawan Mat Weavers Women’s Association was established in Barangay Bunawan, as a part of Republic Cement’s social development and management program. The association was established for the purpose of setting up a livelihood project for women. Women-members of the association are trained to weave and create new and different products out of Romblon or Pandan plant, and are taught to cultivate and grow the plant to ensure sustainable supply.

Unemployed mothers weaving handicraft products help support their families through livelihood income.
Within eight years of operations, the Bunawan Mat Weavers Women’s Association has seen marked improvement in the quality of life of its 30 plus members, whose products such as wallets, bed mats and place mats have gained accreditation and acknowledgement by the Department of Trade and Industry and the City of Iligan.

“The income from woven products has greatly helped the community. We are very grateful to Republic Cement’s Iligan Plant for supporting the development of our livelihood, greatly benefiting the women in the community,” Bunawan Mat Weavers Women’s Association president Primitiva Cuesta said. 

Republic Cement said it continues to look for ways to further support the community and tapped the association to produce corporate gifts. “We are glad to be given the opportunity to produce placemats for Republic Cement to satisfy their requirement for corporate souvenirs,” Cuesta said, noting that the additional income has enabled them to celebrate Christmas with their respective families on a joyful note. 

The Bunawan Mat Weavers Women’s Association, in turn, gives back to other barangays under Republic Cement’s SDMP. Just recently, Cuesta served as the resource person who trained members of the Barangay Kiwalan Women’s Association on Mat Weaving during livelihood workshops organized by Republic Cement. 

Republic Cement also extended to communities in Mindano during the Marawi siege and declaration of Martial Law. In partnership with Pilmico Foods Corp., Republic Cement provided assistance to the students, families and members of the military affected by the conflict. Food and clothing were donated to police officers and soldiers stationed in Iligan, in acknowledgment of their dedication to the city and its constituents.

In addition, Republic Cement has an ongoing partnership with the Lasallian Volunteer Program of De La Salle Philippines benefiting the Alayon community, especially young pre-school aged children in Purok Langilanon, Barangay Pugaan, Iligan City. Vital structures were either built or improved, including a nursery school, a social hall and basketball court facilities, all of which are essential to community development.

These CSR programs were designed and implemented on top of Republic Cement’s SDMP, and carry the support and participation of the city council down to the ‘purok’ presidents. The local government unit representatives are also involved in the planning process of these programs prior to implementation.

“By investing in our communities, we are ultimately investing in the future. After all, stronger communities help build a stronger Republic,” Francis said.

Topics: How a cement firm created jobs for village women
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