STA.RITA, Samar – Senator Imee Marcos visited this town on Thursday(Dec.1)for the inauguration and blessing of the tourism center and the 4th OTOP (one town, one product) showroom in this province.

Sen. Imee Marcos led on Thursday(Dec.1) in the blessing and inauguration of a ‘pasalubong’ center in Sta. Rita, Samar where local products made from 34 organizations are in display for tourists to buy. (ROEL T.AMAZONA)

Sen. Marcos was welcomed by town Mayor Jade Kie Tiu and Vice Mayor Joven Tiu, provincial tourism officer Marvin Pecson, provincial director of the trade and industry Engr. Meilo Macabare, provincial schools’ division superintendent Carmela Tamayo and Grace Subong, the regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The tourism office and showroom, located just few meters away from the iconic San Juanico Bridge, is a project of Governor Sharee Ann Tan when she was still a congresswoman representing the second congressional district of the province.

The P30 million worth project was approved in 2021 and implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways includes the concrete road and tourism building.

The tourism building and OTOP showroom will serve as a souvenir shop where products of 34 organizations assisted by the DTI from the two districts of the province like the “queseo” of Gandara, tahong crackers of Jiabong, karlang, camote, and banana chips, dried danggit and squid, and cookies are displayed and can be bought by visitors and tourists.
Tourists who will visit the showroom may also buy various Lara products.

Lara, a Waray term for weaving, is a fashion and lifestyle brand that uses and redefining the “banig” that is usually used as sleeping mats into fashionable bags and accessories, floor mats, clutches, frames, among others.
Lara products are using banig made from tikog, a type of grass that grows in swampy areas.

The tourism center will be managed by the Association of Samar Producers and the Banig Weavers Federation of Basey.

During her tour at the showroom, Basey weavers showed to the senator the process of making banig. They also gifted her with a banig frame with an embroidery of her face.
Embroidered mat products is one of the distinguishing factor and what makes Basey product unique to other mat products produced in the country.

Sen. Marcos also led in the distribution of Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) to around 3,000 beneficiaries from Basey, Catbalogan City, Sta. Rita, Pinabacdao, Calbiga, Hinabangan, Marabut, Jiabong, Paranas, San Jose de Buan, Catbalogan, Pinabacdao, and Villareal.

The beneficiaries identified were people’s organizations, weavers, and farmers who received P3,000 each.
She also led in the launching of nutribun distribution to elementary students in the province. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)