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Samal, araro capital of Bataan
Written by Gilda V. Llames (PIA)   
Saturday, 26 February 2005
Samal has been synonymous with araro production for several decades, until it gained notoriety in the 1980's due to the problem of insurgency in the area.

Today, with the insurgency backbone almost broken, the municipality has regained its lost glory and is once again known as the Araro Capital of Bataan.

From just a handful of original araro ( cookie made from a root crop) manufacturers, the endeavor has grown into a lucrative cottage industry and is now a major source of income for residents of the 4th class municipality.

Just recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) granted a loan assistance of P394,000 to Joyce Special Araro and Other Pastries (JSAOP), one of the pioneers in araro making in Samal.

The loan, according to Rosalie V. Ona, chief of the DOST in Bataan, will be used to purchase two dough mixers: one with a molder/divider for the production of araro cookies and the other, for making gorguria (a cookie similar to pilipit) and lengua, both fast-selling cookies like araro.

Ona explained that the loan assistance is extended to micro and small enterprises under DOST's Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SET-UP).

Aside from providing the firms with the necessary equipment, the program also gives consultancy services on manufacturing productivity, labeling design and packaging of processed products.

Other towns in Bataan also engaged in araro production are: Orani, Hermosa and Abucay, although production in these municipalities is not as big as that in Samal.

Products of JSAOP are sold in as far as Batangas province, in Metro Manila, especially in pasalubong centers of SM malls, in nearby provinces like Pampanga and in other municipalities in Bataan such as Limay, Orion and in Balanga City.

JSAOP's production capacity, its efficiency and sales volume will not only improve with the acquisition of the new equipment, Ona stressed, wastes and rejects are also expected to decrease to a minimum of five percent.

Several factors were taken into consideration by the DOST in the selection of JSAOP as recipient of the loan assistance.

The criteria included: receptiveness of the firms to enhance and expand its enterprise; and scale as well as regularity of production.

Ona disclosed that this year, the DOST in the province hopes to assist four other food manufacturers in Bataan, namely: Bagac Cashew and Food processing, Aling Chayong's Special in Limay; Amanda's Marine Products in Barangay Puerto Rivas, Balanga City and AHDS Table and Delights, also in Balanga.

From araro to insurgency and now back to araro- - Samal has made a 180-degree turn and the real beneficiaries of this development are the local folks now enjoying not only a more peaceful environment but more job opportunities and higher incomes. (Source: PIA Feb. '05)

 
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