President Benigno C. Aquino III on January 12 this year signed Proclamation No. 313 declaring January of every year as “Philippine Tropical Fabrics (PTF) Month” to promote the judicious use of indigenous fibers in the country such as piña, banana, abaca, and Philippine silk. The Proclamation also aims to sustain the increased interest on local tropical fibers brought about by the celebration of the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Day on January last year as mandated by Proclamation No. 86.
The Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI), which leads the research and development of technologies on the country’s tropical textiles, will spearhead the tropical fiber month celebration as designated by Pres. Aquino.
“The competitiveness of indigenous tropical fibers developed by PTRI is becoming known,” said DOST Sec. Mario Montejo. “Moreover, R&D work done on these fibers reveal they can have a broad variety of uses, from traditional formal wear to fashion accessories. Its prospects are bright.”
Highlighting the celebration will be a fashion show featuring local fibers given a new twist. Dubbed “Bagong Habi, Salinlahi: Cutting-edge Philippine Textiles”, the show will unveil fresh, modern and exciting fashion pieces on February 8, 2012 at the InterContinental Manila, Makati City.
Some of the most successful and promising designers of this generation will showcase their creations using innovative indigenous weaves known as neo-ethnic fabrics. These include the abel of Ilocos Norte, hablon of Iloilo, various weaves from Cordillera, and the inaul of Maguindanao. The show will also reveal several interesting pieces made of PTRI-developed tropical fibers from saluyot (jute), water hyacinth, and maguey.
“With Proclamation No. 313, DOST-PTRI and its partners will take on more aggressive strategies to speed up the commercialization of our tropical fiber technologies,” assured Dir. Tomboc. “PTRI also intends to erase misconceptions on indigenous fabrics as a sartorial choice during weddings and other formal occasions rather than as chic and sensible outfit for everyday use.”
To guide all initiatives in promoting tropical fabrics and other handwoven textiles, the agency prepared the PTF Roadmap in 2010, involving not only government agencies but also key players in the industry and the academe. In 2012, Dir. Tomboc promises a sustained promotion of local tropical fibers and neo-ethnic fabrics through proactive advocacy campaigns.
“Through this roadmap, we can unify our efforts in advancing local tropical fabrics and ethnic textiles, thereby increasing competitiveness and opportunities of the local fiber, textile and garment industry,” said Dir. Tomboc.
PTRI’s partners in developing the local fabric industry include the Department of Agriculture – Fiber Industry Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, Civil Service Commission, University of the Philippines-College of Home Economics, Textile Mills Association of the Philippines, Uniform Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, and the farmers group represented by the Labo Progressive Multi-Purpose Cooperative. in the full implementation of the PTF roadmap led by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD-DOST). (Joy Camille Baldo, S&T Media Service)