DOST to produce indigenous textile design uniforms for govt agencies soon

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2016-08-29 12:00:00 – Manila

The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is working on a project with textile experts and weavers to produce a line of everyday office wear that incorporates indigenous textiles and designs for government employees to soon become a reality.

DOST said that the project will not only spice up the uniforms worn by some 1.5 million government employees, but also revive a 12-year-old law that requires office outfits that promote nationalism and boost the country’s rich tropical fabrics industry.

Carlos Primo David, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) said that there’s a law that says government uniforms should be made of indigenous fabrics, but they are not following it for various reasons like it’s expensive or not functional.

Now, they will have a line of uniforms for government agencies to adopt that, incorporating indigenous textiles and designs.

In 2004, Congress approved Republic Act No. 9242, also known as the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law, prescribing the use of natural fibers produced, spun, woven or knitted and finished in the country for official uniforms of government officials and employees.

The law is aimed at encouraging efforts to strengthen the country’s tropical fabrics industry and to give the much-needed push to the industrial and agricultural sector.

The PCIEERD would bankroll the project, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Diliman–College of Home Economics (UP CHE), the Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Programme Philippines (NTFP-EP) and the Philippine Textile Research Institute.

NTFP-EP will take charge in coming up with the designs and final output, David said. He noted that the group, along with UP CHE, was already

producing uniforms for the Civil Service Commission.

The DOST project will be rolled out on a national scale, making available various designs that will depict the core values of each of the government agencies, David said.

Beng Camba, NTFP-EP enterprise development coordinator said that this is really for the implementation of the Philippine Tropical Fiber Law and the mainstreaming of indigenous textiles.

The project also has forest conservation and community development aspects because they will be using forest resources. This will also generate employment opportunities for forest-based communities, Camba said.

Kitty Caragay of UP-CHE said that the prototype uniforms would be available by early next year.

The project was conceived as part of the five-year road map the DOST launched early this month to inject new vigor into the country’s rich fabric industry and make the Philippines a global player in the textile market with its own Filipino branding.

The road map was a product of inputs gathered from various garments and textiles associations, private organizations and government agencies during a series of round table discussions.

The plan included the setting up of 14 hand-loom weaving centers, natural dyes production hubs, skills training for hand loom weavers, creation of an incentive system for manufacturers using higher percentage of indigenous fiber for yarns, and establishment of a recycling technology for yarns.

At the presentation of the road map, David said that the DOST would help local textiles rise again through research and development initiatives.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority figures, the industry contributed over $1.5 billion worth in exports last year, despite the challenges.

Currently, the country has only 10 groups in the textile sector with less than half a million workers. Big unions and cooperatives have disappeared. Some big-name companies source out materials, labor or both to other countries.

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