Shortly after the completion of the Fish-Drying Facility in Sagay, we received this letter of thanks from Bert Armada, who had found an international partner to create long-term jobs for the community there.
His letter is below:
Hello to our friends from SCEA Global,
I wanted to share the good news that has come to us since you built us the Fish Drying facility here in Purok Bangkal, Sagay. An American company that specializes in crab meat came to Negros and has chosen Purok Bangkal to as its headquarters for its catching and cleaning premises.
They were so impressed by the facility you helped us build that they now pay our community to use it and have employed more than 50 of our townsfolk in a full-‐time capacity!
Bringing in this group (RGE Agridev Corp) to our community with this crab venture has already brought in many benefits.
They supplied nets and other needed materials to ten fishermen and gave them jobs that tripled their salaries. Ten more will be employed in three months time!
The cost of the nets is half subsidized by RGE meaning the fishermen only pay half the normal price.
All the crabs that the women are catching in boats catch will be brought to our buying and cooking station. They are assured of a year round market for all the blue crabs they could catch -‐ a very good livelihood for them.
At the same time too our enterprise employs three full-‐time workers from our IRC community to supervise our 15 full-‐time crab meat pickers (our need would increase to 30 in the next few months and a full compliment of 50 crabmeat pickers once we expand production by the year’s end!)
Just imagine, idle women now given work right where they live!
We have a three year MOA with RGE and our eventual goal is to directly take over the business from RGE through a cooperative composed of our female kitchen workers and boat catchers after the MOA expires which RGE and IRC Sagay have an understanding on.
This is what we want for the community to be empowered and equipped to run thus enterprise.
But for now we are closely studying the operations of this business. RGE is presently leasing our facility and paying us P5, 000.00 a month, which we are putting into our scholarships fund for the students, you know here.
But we will renegotiate this once we begin showing numbers and they start recouping their initial investments. I calculate the initial investment of RGE into our community including nets, materials for crabbing the equipment and supplies for crab meat buying, cooking and picking is already close to P1,000,000 and what we wanted for them is to make it easier to run a successful enterprise in our community.
The important consideration is that they are now here – and it is all because you gave us the facility through your advocacy efforts in the Australian Embassy and Australian Aid.
We have gained a lot of goodwill and credibility in our community besides boosting morale now that there is this community enterprise that promises to bring an economic boon to Purok Bangkal.
Please pass on some of these pictures to your friends in the Australian Embassy in Manila and all those great people supporting us at SCEA.
Each day I wake to see these women hard at work, earning a livelihood for their children – right here in Purok Bangkal.
You cannot believe the joy it brings me! We are so thankful that someone actually cared for us and the blessings that have come from this.