Message of Senator Loren Legarda*
Science & Technology Roadmap for Textiles Conference
16 August 2016 | DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig
*Delivered by a Representative
One of the first laws I authored during my first term as Senator was Republic Act 9242, the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law.
Its primary purpose is to promote the country’s natural fabrics through their use as materials in official governments uniforms. I have envisioned this law to jumpstart the effort to build up the country’s tropical fabrics industry, while giving a much needed boost to the agricultural and industrial sectors, and creating diversity in our textile and fashion industry.
These goals make the law relevant to our farmers, weavers, fashion designers, garment manufacturers and consumers. When more casual and fashionable garments made of tropical fibers become available in stores and malls, it would be easier for the average Filipino to know and use them for everyday wear.
Another important aspect of the law is the preservation of our heritage.
It has been my lifelong passion to explore the indigenous artistry of Filipinos told through traditional textiles. Through my visits to numerous weaving communities in the country, I have discovered that we have a wealth of tropical fabrics and weaving traditions.
I have seen precious fabrics woven by hand, embroidered with intricate designs, and imbued with natural dyes to infuse color into threads made of natural materials. Beyond the intricate weaving techniques and fine embellishments we find in these traditional textiles, we discover cultural expressions and visions of our history that have endured the test of time.
Traditional weaving communities continue to exist in many parts of the country. But we are aware of the fact that without support from the government and other stakeholders, traditional textile making could be an endangered craft.
The strengthening of the tropical fabrics industry is attuned to our advocacy of promoting sustainable development and preserving our rich heritage. It will also provide jobs needed in the countryside.
We have the sturdy abaca, the delicate pineapple fiber, and precious silk, among others. These fibers are used traditionally in respective parts of the country and there is no need to look far for the skilled weaver who will know how to transform them into beautiful fabric. Indeed, the industry has great potential in the world market.
But a lot of work needs to be done. We have to establish a reliable supply of materials, adopt modern high technology machinery for greater productivity, provide financial assistance to the industry, set up skills training program to produce more loom-weavers and artists, and promote foreign investments and linkages in the industry to achieve economies of scale.
It is on this note that I laud the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging, Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) for initiating an update of the roadmap for textiles. Congratulations as well to your partners in this endeavor, namely, the DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI), UP Diliman College of Home Economics (UPD-CHE), and the Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) for completing this five-year Science and Technology Roadmap for the Textiles Sector.
Let us make use of this Roadmap to guide us as we double, even triple, our efforts in strengthening our textile industry.
Thank you and good morning.