February 24, 2024

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Digital Weaving: Transforming the Philippine Textile Landscape

In a bold initiative poised to unleash economic potential and employment opportunities, especially in rural areas, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) has launched the FRONTIER programme. This initiative seeks to breathe new life into the local textile industry by leveraging existing technologies and products, aiming for inclusive regional development across the Philippines.

DOST-PTRI Director Julius L. Leano stressed the crucial role of textiles and clothing in fulfilling basic needs, “You cannot deny that textiles and clothing are essential to our basic needs.”

At ‘TELACon’ during the 2024 PTF Month celebration, DOST-PTRI he introduced FRONTIER, a programme strategically establishing hubs for textile fibres, yarns, and regional centres dedicated to natural dyes and weaving innovations to consolidate efforts across various regions. FRONTIER’s vision is for a regional clothing and textile research innovation agenda in each region by 2024, adopted by regional development councils by 2025, involving large-scale textile companies, provincial textile activities, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and establishing textile innovation centres.

To implement FRONTIER, DOST-PTRI plans to deploy its existing technologies through various sub-programmes, including Natural Textiles Technology Bamboo Textiles PH, Natural Dyes, and Philippine Silk. Director Leano underscored the need for a region-specific approach, tailoring initiatives to the unique contexts of each region.

Implemented through Regional Innovation Centres, FRONTIER aims to lead and amplify DOST-PTRI’s efforts in the regions, focussing on collaboration and democratising access to facilities, empowering individuals not only in Metro Manila but also in the regions shaping the unique identity of Philippine textiles.

Director Leano highlighted existing initiatives, such as the Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Center (RYPIC) in various locations, Natural Fibre Textiles Technology, Bamboo Textiles PH, Natural Dyes, and Philippine Silk. These initiatives are already making significant strides in promoting innovation and sustainability at the grassroots level.

Director Leano highlighted operational regional hubs, including the silk innovation hub in Kalinga, the upcoming inauguration of the Silk Innovation Hub in Negros by the end of February, and the operational Silk Research and Innovation Center in Misamis Oriental, the only one outside DOST-PTRI’s Bicutan campus.

FRONTIER has received funding under the DOST’s General Appropriations Act for 2024, allowing the programme to launch key hubs, including the Natural Textile Fiber Innovation Hub in Catanduanes, Leyte, and Negros Occidental. Additionally, the Bamboo Textile Innovation Hub will be launched in Lagangilang in Abra, Alaminos in Pangasinan, and Maramag in Bukidnon.

Regional Handloom Weaving Innovation Centers are set to rise in six more locations across the Philippines, promoting local craftsmanship and sustainability. Furthermore, the programme aims to establish another DOST-funded Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Center in Kabacan, Cotabato, the first in Mindanao.

During the TELACon, DOST-PTRI launched the Textile Academy, consolidating training and education materials for textile topics and technology transfer efforts. The academy positions DOST-PTRI as a leading institute for textile innovations, driving research and development investments in Philippine textiles from 2023 to 2028.

DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. underscored the combined effect of alignment, binding, and transformation of stakeholders and the textile industry in achieving the goals of ‘Spinning Innovations.’ The initiative aligns with the vision of a new and innovative Philippines, where science, technology, and innovation drive socio-economic transformation, ensuring a strong and sufficient future for all.

Secretary Solidum Jr. believes the initiative will, “Align us to the Bagong Pilipinas where a new way and new order will ensure that we make science, technology and innovation drive socio-economic transformation and where science, technology and innovation assures us the blessing of a strong, safe and sufficient future where no one is left behind.”

OpenGov Asia reported that the DOST-affiliated Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) was set to launch three innovative programmes to boost the textile industry. Secretary Solidum Jr. announced these initiatives at a textile convention, highlighting PTRI’s commitment to inclusive research and development investment.

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