TRADITION. Catalina Ablog demonstrates the abel Iloko (Ilocano weaving) at the National Museum in Manila in this undated photo. Senator Loren Legarda has filed a bill that aims to establish the National Handloom Weaving Department Council in support of the local textile industry. (Photo courtesy of Loren Legarda Facebook)

MANILA – The country’s weaving industry received a boost after Senator Loren Legarda pushed for the creation of an agency aimed at empowering weavers and mainstream government programs to develop the local textile sector.

In filing Senate Bill 241, or the Philippine Handloom Weaving Industry Development Act, Legarda proposed the creation of a National Handloom Weaving Department Council composed of representatives from the National Commission on Indigenous People, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Garments and Textile Industry Development Office under the Department of Trade and Industry.

“It is high time we provide the much-needed assistance to our local textile industry, our weavers, and our artisans who continuously safeguard our country’s rich heritage. With the increasing price of raw materials and marketing concerns, we must give our weaving industry a fighting chance. Our handwoven fabrics deserve recognition,” Legarda said in a news release on Friday.

The Council will create the National Handloom Weaving Industry Development Policy to generate the industry’s roadmap, intellectual property framework for textiles, innovation, and promotion of textile-related sills training.

Legarda said handloom weaving is one of the country’s most time-honored industries and generates income in rural areas.

The Senate President Pro-tempore, also the author of Republic Act 9242 or the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law, has previously provided support through the Philippine Fiber Development Authority for the establishment of weaving centers and cotton processing facilities nationwide.

The law prescribes the use of Philippine tropical fabrics for official uniforms of government officials and employees and for purposes which require the use of fabrics in government offices and functions.

The tropical fabrics shall be purchased from local sources in accordance with law. (PR)