Legarda sees two million New Jobs from Rubber Industry

April 2, 2013

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Sen. Loren Legarda has asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to fast-track the creation of the Philippine Rubber Research Institute, saying opportunities are being lost for the country as well as for rubber producers, processors and workers because of the delay in its formation.

“Noong 2010 pa ipinasa ang batas na ito na nagsasaad na pag-ibayuhin ang research para sa industriya ng rubber. Maraming Pilipino na ang dapat nabigyan ng trabaho at nakikinabang dito,” Legarda said after she was informed that the Institute, created in 2010 by Republic Act 10089, has yet to be established. “Once fully implemented, the law could create some two million additional jobs in Mindanao and some parts of Luzon and Visayas where rubber plantations are located,” she said.

Legarda noted that one million hectares of marginal land, at two farmhands per hectare, would mean two million farm jobs, adding that the funds for the clearing of the land, preparation and planting can come from agriculture’s share of the stimulus package.

“We have the land which we can use; we have the farm hands who need jobs and with an infusion of funds from the stimulus package, we can immediately create two million jobs,” Legarda stressed. “We could just imagine the contribution that the rubber industry would provide the Philippine economy if production is increased and the quality is improved to boost exports,” she said.

Legarda said the worldwide supply for rubber cannot keep up with the increasing demand. Study shows that worldwide, rubber production of 6.59 million tons in 2006 will increase to more than 426.4% or 28.1 million tons by 2020. Yet the projected increase in rubber production will still fall short of projected global demand for latex, rubber plates and related rubber products.

She said opportunities are being lost because the country is not able to take full advantage of the premium prices in the international rubber trade due to the poor quality of local rubber.

The Philippine Rubber Research Institute is mandated to initiate and administer research and development (R&D) programs to improve quality and increase productivity of rubber, especially for the benefit of smallholder rubber producers and processors.