PPE shortage highlights need to revive textile industry
MANILA, Philippines — Without a local textile industry, apparel, and garment factories have to import the materials they need to make personal protective equipment (PPE) like medical gowns, and this is not necessarily sustainable, an official from an industry group said.
A member of the board of trustees at the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. said the country needed to revive its local textile industry, which he said used to be one of the best in Asia 10 to 15 years ago.
Now, it is the only country in Asia without its own textile industry, said Robert Young, Philexport trustee for the textiles sector.
During a recent online forum, he said they received calls for help from factories that have run out of materials to produce PPE and masks.
“We are willing but where are the fabrics? Where are the materials? We can’t get anything,” added Young, who is also the president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (Fobap).
“If we have factories nearby, or domestic, we can get supplies from these textile companies,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown to more people the structural inefficiencies that had persisted before the outbreak. The local clothing industry is no exception.
While local garment factories are currently making PPE, there is still a gap in the supply chain equivalent to the size of an entire textile industry. For now, that gap is being filled by imports.
“We cannot continue importing. We have to be self-reliant because we don’t know what will happen next,” Young said.
He said there should be a serious study on the revival of the textile industry, which is important as it provides the basic human need for clothing. INQ
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