Use what you produce; produce what you use.
This is the principle behind the efforts of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) to pursue sustainability in local fashion practices.
“Sustainability is producing our own textiles because it’s higher in the value chain. Using our own raw materials, having our own local skills and talents, and using our technology and processing here—it’s an industry that can enable more people to come to the workforce,” shares PTRI director Celia Elumba.
To enliven the country’s garments and textile industries, the PTRI has already developed a number of technologies to assist local businesses in the production and processing of locally made textiles and fabrics. With raw materials and technologies now readily available in the Philippines, it is apparent that the Philippines’ garment sector is ripe for revitalization.
“We have the technology. Now we’re looking for adaptors of it,” says Elumba. “We want to encourage enterprises, businesses, and investors to go and take a second look at textile production because we have more than a hundred million Filipinos now to market to.”
One example of a sustainable model is the Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Center (RYPIC) in Miag-ao, Iloilo, where PTRI collaborated with the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT U) to create a microscale facility that produces blended yarns that assists small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The project, which is supported by the local government of Iloilo, uses natural materials available in Iloilo—positively impacting the environment by not leaving microfibers in the water when washed. In keeping with PTRI advocacy TELA (Textiles Empowering Lives Anew) Pilipinas, they have also partnered with Great Women Philippines to create and market products commercially and further promote locally made quality textiles.
With the country’s abundance of raw materials, the PTRI looks forward to more opportunities of putting up RYPICs in other locations, where all the resources are localized and all the benefits will be enjoyed by those directly involved and the local population—creating an ecosystem that can be sustained for future generations.
“There’s no better time to invest than today. We believe in the technology and its ability to change and moderate lives and improve our conditions,” Elumba says of her hope for the local garments and textile industry. “We’d love to have the collaboration and cooperation of the private sector because their creativity will surely help us find ways to improve what we have.”
Celia Elumba will speak about “Sustainability in the Garments and Textile Industry” at the 2nd Philippine Garment, Leather Industries, and Textile Expo’s Industry Forum on December 5 at the Forbes Ballroom 1 of the Conrad Hotel Manila. The expo will run from December 5 to 8, at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City. It will feature its own Philippine Pavilion, where exhibits from local industry associations, including PTRI, will be showcased.