Press Release
January 24, 2011

Legarda calls for strengthening of tropical fabrics industry to maximize
its benefits to the country

In celebration of the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Day, Senator Loren Legarda today urged the government and concerned sectors to strengthen the tropical fabrics industry to capitalize on the benefits that it would bring to other industries in the country.

Legarda said that the faithful implementation of Republic Act 9242 or the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law, which she authored, will help jumpstart the effort to build up the tropical fabrics industry, while giving a much needed boost to the agricultural and industrial sectors. It will also create diversity in the textile and fashion industry, which will give Filipino fashion designers and garment manufacturers more choices in textiles to use.

"RA 9242 intends to promote the country's natural fabrics through the use of such materials for official uniforms of government officials and employees, with the end in view of strengthening the local fiber industry. This law will also boost the agricultural sector, which will provide the raw materials such as pineapple, banana, and abaca fibers," she said.

The Senator noted that according to the Department of Science and Technology, producing a set of uniforms that contain 20% indigenous fiber blend would need approximately 571 metric tons of pineapple, or 691 MT of banana, or 627 MT of abaca fibers; thus, it would generate additional income for farmers of these specific crops.

"The strengthening of the tropical fabrics industry is also attuned to our advocacy of promoting sustainable development and preserving our nation's rich heritage. While being environment-friendly, this effort also instills pride and a sense of identity and nationalism in Filipinos as they use fabrics which are distinctly Filipino made," Legarda said.

She added that a lot of work still needs to be done to be able to boost the industry. These efforts include: the establishment of a reliable supply of materials, the use of modern high technology machinery for greater productivity, the grant of financial assistance to the industry, setting up skills training program to produce more loom-weavers and artists, and promoting foreign investments and linkages in the industry to achieve scale economies.

"We all have to do our share. We have to work together to make this potential a reality, make our distinct fabrics known by the world, and preserve the art of Filipino weaving," Legarda concluded.

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