SPECIAL FEATURE STORY
BY ASANGAN T. MADALE
FIRST LADY Marie “Liza” Araneta-Marcos led the awarding ceremony to Commissioner Amielyn M. Limbona as the first Maranao Commissioner of Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) that wins the 2023 Inspiring Filipina Go Negosyo “Woman Enabler”title.
The First Lady Madam Araneta-Marcos was assisted by Her Excellence Ambassador of US Mary Kay, and Honorable Joey Concepcion founder of Go Negosyo also blessed by Secretary Alfred Pascual of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Top Officials said.
Commissioner Limbona is the founder of Arkat Lawmen Women Empowerment Producers Cooperative who was chosen by the group as one of the 13 awardees.
In an interview, Commissioner Limbona told the Mindanao Daily News that she spent her life as a private entrepreneur managing OFW medical clinic for 10 years and a woman advocate volunteer for Peace Sometimes before and right after the 2017 Marawi siege.
She was personally devastated after seeing the ground zero of then vibrant Marawi City. She visited one of the evacuation centers located in Saguiran ,Lanao del sur, where the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) Maranaos were housed.
It could be re-called that Commissioner Limbona was also interviewed by Business World Correspondent in Davao City and told other reporters that as they grappled with life in the evacuation centers, they sought to come to terms with their tragedy and how they could muddle their reality.
Where many turned to needlework, for their own needs and to make commercial items they could sell with the help of the government and other organizations.
Commissioner Limbona thought they needed to make something more meaningful, something that would keep them linked to their Maranao history and culture that would pave the way to earn money for their day to day needs in their respective families. Commissioner Limbona added.
She created Arkat Lawanen Icon Dolls for Peace to have seed money in bringing back their local weaving industry, Commissioner Limbona said.
Commissioner Limbona said her struggle in creating Arkat dolls created scarcity of materials since she wanted to create a Maranao Princess that speaks about their rich culture and traditions.
Being a Muslim Maranao she was bashed and nobody supported her mission since having dolls in the household is considered idolatry.
However, Arkat Lawanen is a princess from the famous Darangen epic which speaks about abduction from another Kingdom led by Sultan Salindagaw. The relevance of this Arkat Princess with Marawi siege is a resemblance of woman resiliency and empowerment. The support of Undersecretary Marjorie Jalosjos and Dr. Malou Monteverde, Honorary Consul of Mexico has created opportunities that eventually led to the creation of Marawi weavers into cooperatives.
There is a need to bring Go Negosyo to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and especially to Mindanao artisans in Marawi – to avail on monitoring session and experience the chance to have face to face with big mentors who are really successful in their business .
Right set of entrepreneurs is very important for a Muslim traders to grow. Commissioner Limbona added.