Lawmakers wants probe on implementation of Tropical Fabrics Law

Published September 17, 2020, 9:21 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Twenty-nine lawmakers, mostly leaders of the House of Representatives have filed a resolution seeking a congressional probe on the government’s implementation of the 16-year old Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law.

Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda (Congresswoman Loren Legarda Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Deputy Speaker and lone District Rep. Loren Legarda led the filing of House Resolution No. 1211 directing the appropriate House panels to conduct an inquiry into the implementation of Republic Act No. 9242, otherwise known as the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law.

The resolution seeks to ensure that the funding given to the implementing government agencies has benefitted the workers and stakeholders of the tropical fabric industry and aligned industries.

“After more than 16 years since its approval into law, its full potential has not yet been realised because of several challenges such as the lack of local manufacturers who can produce the fibers to fabric, the unavailability of handlooms, and weaving technology, and ultimately, the need to sustain production capability in order to meet market demands,” the lawmakers said in HR No. 1211.

They noted that RA No. 9242 provides the amount necessary for its continued implementation—from the production of plant fibers, to the conduct of research and improvement, and to the allocation of needed materials for fabrication— shall be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Legarda, former chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, said in previous years, the augmentations in the budget of specific programs related to the law were provided for the planting of cotton.

It also includes the establishment of weaving centers under the Philippine Fiber Development Authority (Phifida), for the assistance to artisans through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA_, for technical support through the Shared Service Facility of the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), among others.

Under the resolution, the lawmakers said based on the implementing rules and regulations of the law, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) is tasked to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the law, in coordination with the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), DTI, and PTRI.

The concerned agencies, led by the CSC, is expected to submit annual reports to the Civil Service Committee of both houses of Congress on or before the end of the December every year.

“The strengthening of the tropical fabrics industry will not only promote sustainable development and preserve the art of weaving, but will also generate employment in the rural areas and sustain growth in the agricultural sector,” they stressed.

Among the co-authors of the resolution are Reps. Christopher De Venecia, Francisco “Kiko”Benitez, Kristine Singson-Meehan, Evelina Escudero, Rose Marie “Baby” Arenas, Vilma Santos-Recto; Deogracias Victor Savellano Victor Yap, Sol Aragones, Strike Revilla, Ann Hofer, Rosanna “Ria” Vergara, Lucy Torres-Gomez, Weslie Gatchalian, Geraldine Roman, Sharon Garin, Rufus Rodriguez, Marlyn “Len” Alonte, Juan Miguel Arroyo, LIanda Bolilia, Camille Villar, Stella Luz Quimbo, Jose Enrique Garcia III, Edward Maceda, Alfred Vargas, Jose Christoper Belmonte, Jericho Jonas Nograles, and John Marvin “Yul” Servo.

RA 9242 mandates the government to promote the preferential use of locally-manufactured goods that utilise local resources, adopt measures that help make them competitive, and generate wider employment and greater benefits to the country.

The law prescribes the use of tropical fabrics, containing natural fibers produces, spun, woven or knitted and finished in the Philippines, as material for uniforms of all government officials and employees, and for such other purposes which require the use of fabrics in government offices and functions.