By Michael Aaron Gomez and Gracielle Deanne Tubera

The Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has launched the Shared Services Facility (SSF) with the Ateneo Shoe Academy (ASA), located at Sitio Waan, Barangay Magtuod, Davao City, this past Thursday, 27 June 2019. University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J., along with DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, graced the ceremony.

The Shared Service Facility at the ASA is an ongoing project by the DTI, which aims to improve the capability, productivity, and global competitiveness of the scholars and graduates of the Shoe Academy by providing them relevant shoemaking machinery and equipment. The SSF at the Shoe Academy is also the pioneering shared services facility on shoemaking launched in Mindanao.

Under the SSF, the Ateneo Shoe Academy has received a multimillion-peso grant from the Department of Trade and Industry that secured specialized machinery, such as a universal sole press machine, a glue activator machine, a rib-laying machine, a welt-stitcher machine, a leather-folding machine, a pounding machine, a cylinder-bed sewing machine, and a leather-splitting machine.

These sets of equipment are expected to enhance the Ateneo Shoe Academy’s existing shoe products in terms of quality and design, increase production, lower costs, and improve over-all product competitiveness. It will also help develop the growing shoemaking industry in the Davao region, and help benefit out-of-school youth and members of indigenous communities in Davao City. The SSF is also meant to benefit ASA students and graduates, and to enhance their global competitiveness.

“[The SSF at the Shoe Academy] is a convergence of support from TESDA [Technical Education and Skills Development Authority], DOLE [Department of Labor and Employment], DTI, and AdDU,” DTI Provincial Director Edwin Banquerigo said, adding, “What we have here is the legacy of making the first shoemaking facility in Mindanao.”

DTI Sec. Lopez also described the students and graduates of the ASA as “pioneering shoemakers of the industry.” “This will be the start of a new industry in Mindanao,” he said, adding as well that the DTI will make sure that microfinancing for Micro-Small-Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will be available, as well as hubs for selling and showcasing of the Academy’s products.

“We have to fight poverty,” Fr. Tabora, S.J. said. “This is possible if we work together through various entrepreneurial ventures.”

The Shared Service Facility provides a training area that offers a comprehensive shoemaking program for the out-of-school youth and members of the indigenous communities in Davao City.

Established in 2016, the Ateneo Shoe Academy offers a free 10-month shoemaking course to Davao’s out-of-school youth and members of the indigenous communities. It has already produced 20 graduates who are pioneering the shoemaking industry in Mindanao.