Norgay Honda, who has worked for the government since 1987, has become the face of Philippine government efforts to save the country from famine.
Honda, 58, has raised over $2 million to fight the crisis and has donated more than 1,000 handmade clothes, rice and other goods to local markets and schools.
The president, Rodrigo Duterte, is a staunch supporter of the handicraft business and has pledged $3.2 billion to help rebuild the economy.
Honda and other handicraft vendors have been at the center of the country’s ongoing food crisis.
Since April, the Philippines has seen an increase in food prices due to an influx of imported corn, wheat and rice.
A government survey last week showed that about 3.4 million households had less than $1.25 a day of food, a figure that has risen sharply since April.
The government’s goal is to provide at least 1.7 million people with food in the coming days.
With the crisis deepening, Honda and the handicavestory industry are facing a daunting challenge.
Despite government efforts, the country is still running out of food.
The Philippine Association of Specialized Industries has been unable to provide the government with the required supplies for several months.
This means handicraft shops have to rely on their own stockpiles and are forced to stock up on what they have.
With such limited supplies, handicraft businesses have resorted to begging, begging on the streets and in local markets, where they often find themselves competing with foreign vendors who offer cheaper prices.
The handicraft industry is one of the last sectors that Filipinos still depend on to survive in a country where corruption, a weak state and poverty have led to the countrys economic collapse.
Honda said the crisis is affecting the lives of Filipinos, especially those who are not able to buy food.
“It’s a nightmare.
We work hard.
We have jobs.
We’re here to earn our livelihood.
We can’t give up,” Honda said.
“We need to go to the markets and buy whatever we can, whatever’s available.
If there’s no rice, if there’s nothing, if they’re not cooking, we’ll go to a market to buy whatever’s there.”
Despite his tough stance against the crisis, Honda said he has been pleasantly surprised by the reaction of Filipinas.
“I’m glad the Philippines is doing its job,” he said.